Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the same boat | a small idea from Raising Adults

The same boat

If Boomers like me gave up our ideals in The Big Chill, well our kids may be sorry for us but, frankly, it has nothing to do with them. They don’t hate us for that, they don’t hold us in contempt. But they don’t admire us either, or feel obliged to listen when we go on about things (as we tend to do). Still, they’re watching. For what, we’re not sure. They play by a different set of rules and they won’t necessarily tell us what they are.
Most kids seem to be doing fine. They’re not in jail nor do they seem likely to go there. They get to school or work most days. They don’t carry concealed weapons, traffic in drugs or consort with prostitutes. They seem to be turning out OK.
Perhaps it’s benign neglect: We managed to not screw them up. Or Providence. Providence was very popular with the founding fathers and mothers. It’s in all the early writings; I see no reason we can’t invoke it now.
Or maybe we didn’t do such a bad job on the whole. Maybe the kids are alright. Except that some aren’t doing so well; some days it seems like most aren’t doing so well.
Generation X and Y and whatever’s next are clich├ęs constructed on something observable. That observable something is a disturbing level of aimlessness, sadness, anger, fear, occasional violence, and hopelessness.
Many of our children reach adulthood with a serious deficit of life skills. They enter their adult years emotionally impotent, unable to cope with pressure, socially unskilled, scholastically under-prepared, spiritually undernourished.
I wish I could say these problems belong to someone else. I wish I could say they are urban issues. I’d like to point to out-of-touch rural communities and say, Look, these folk aren’t raising adults. I wish these were the challenges of single mothers, people of color, the poor. It would give me great satisfaction to say these difficulties afflict only the rich. But it’s not true. We’re all in the same boat.
— from Raising Adults

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