Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kids These Days

I really hate the phrase "kids these days."  Whether it's referring to millennials or minors, it's a phrase that always precedes condescension, disgust, or harsh judgment.

My response is always the same:

Who raised these kids?

Generally, the person committing a "kids these days" is a member of the generation who raised them, or of an age to be "these kids" grandparents.

I.e., they're the people who've raised "these kids", or the people who raised the kids that raised "these kids."

If you have Internet access (and I'm guessing you do if you're here...), you've probably seen this condescending Huffington Post garbage about why my generation is unhappy--basically, because we're whiny and delusional.  Which manages to completely ignore the fact that we can't get decent jobs that will sustain both us and--god forbid--any family we're fiscally irresponsible enough to start.

In case those kids-these-days-ers forgot, my generation didn't cause the economic crisis we all find ourselves in today.  No, that was the work of those powerhouses on Wall Street and in Washington who were, well, old enough to say "kids these days."

Do millennials really not work hard?  In an era when job hunting can be in itself a full-time endeavor, where productivity is up and benefits and compensation are down...  In an era when most "entry level" positions require several years of experience and the only way to gain experience is to work for free...

Are we really lazy?  Or is that dim hope?

Are we delusional, with expectations too high?  Is the problem really that we all think we're just so gosh-darn special?

Or are we just angry that while we're performing our drudgery in a sluggish economy, with lower starting wages it'll take us decades to overcome, with debt we were promised would be a good investment but instead is often crippling, and with take-home pay that--if we're lucky--lets us put a little away for an even rainier day, we keep hearing condemnation:  kids these days.

Adam Weinstein says it much better.

Look, it's not my intention to pin the troubles of one generation on any other age group.  Rather, I just want to emphasize that here is a generation that, whatever situation it finds itself in, is trying to do its best with what is available.  Just like the generation before us, and the generation before them, and generations to come. 

And despite the urge to compartmentalize society into generations, we are--like it or not--in this together.  Flinging insults at each other doesn't seem to be accomplishing much.

2 comments:

  1. Both of you said it well. I've been guilty a time or two of "judging" a young person, but in my defense, I knew that young person well and wasn't judging based on mere perception. On the other hand, I see a lot MORE young people who work hard to get ahead and don't complain about it. I think the guy on HuffPo is an idiot.

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    1. Oh, I judge people left and right... I just try to judge them as being idiot *individuals*, instead of idiot *groups*. Except the Westboro Baptist Church. And politicians.

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