How Long to Forget a Dream?
How often have you heard, “The young people today don’t have the drive like when we were young”, or, “They have it too easy, and show no morals”? I agree that it is different for kids today than when I was their age. Where I disagree is with the theory that they have it better. In fact, I wouldn’t care to stand where they are for all the world.
Here is what seems easier - the resources at their fingertips are amazing. But they will never know how to find a book in the library. Remember those awful card systems with the spinster who “shushed” louder than whatever little giggle may have escaped our lips. She was a monument at that library. And yes, she never married, nor did her twin sister who also worked her life away in the aisle of books that gave us the world. Now, kids can literally speak to a professor in Sweden and see them live through the programs our computers have. What a huge advantage! Maybe, but with these magic boxes, our smart phones that is literally brighter than I am, they have missed the human side of life.
It used to be said that the television was making “idiots “ out of our kids. At that time, I had read the average time watching TV was 4-6 hours per day. I can definitely see the concern. But at least for those hours we we would see them, hear their voices, and feel fairly certain that this was our child. Now they have turned in the old model of entertainment for the new expensive communicator that provides games, chat rooms, movies, and everything else imaginable.
Better right? And yet I feel the “American Dream” is not in their reach. The starter homes are hundreds of thousands of dollars, really unimaginatively designed and there is one just like it every third house or so. The workers aim for time billed, instead of quality. Good enough, instead of art. How many of your kids are close?
In my day, one could finish their degree and would almost surely get a job due to the fact they had an education. Now, these kids are coming out with a four year degrees, and more than one post graduate degree, and they are far from guaranteed anything. These educated kids are still living at home because even with the schooling, they have huge debt, and part-time jobs that put them right under the hours required for benefits. But it is better than nothing. What a sad credo for the years of education they just payed and worked hard for.
To me, the biggest travesty is the kids who want to major in art, music, writing - yet after getting lectured down to inches above sea level, they settle. They become accountants, businessmen and women. The dreams they had since a child are buried deep under the pages of reminders that their bill is about to become due, and there hasn’t even been a good interview yet.
How long before the thought of dancing the Nutcracker is a distant memory that goes in the column of the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus? How many artists have we muffled and discouraged, removing the colors that surround them. The writer we shut up, tie their hands and numb their imagination of unique and different but wonderful ideas in every way. How long does it take to forget a dream? To let it go like a balloon that is meant to fly so high, it is out of our sight. We don’t witness the fall back to earth, sharp punctures making it unable to ever fly again.
Before you tell your hard-luck story, again, don’t think you had it harder than your offspring. Just a different set of hurdles, yet, easier to get over for some reason. Don’t criticize the child that is the most educated roommate in the house. And the oldest. Encourage and try to help them think outside the box. Encourage school, but remember it is their life, let them live it.
Yes, it is different now. It seems like it should be smoother, but I don’t think it is. Be proud of the success and be proud of the failure. They do not need, “I told you so.” Instead, go with, “Good try. When you are ready, we can try again, or look at it in a different light”. Remember, they have dreams and goals you may not know about because they don’t want to hear why it won’t work. You may have a great child - just give them a moment to figure out how to make it happen. The world will thank you.