Opinion: Juliette Kings
Every generation thinks the next generation is worse. That isn’t true.
Facebook is full of memes saying …
When I was a kid we were polite, we respected our elders, we were beaten with switches and had our mouths washed out with soap…
Oh screw that. I’ve always seen RUDE hateful mean despicable young people. I’ve seen it for decades. They learn it from their elders. They learn it from those same parents who are posting those stupid memes.
The teens (and little kids for that matter) in my life are polite. They are respectful. They are great. And you know what? I didn’t have to resort to paddles or other barbaric violent means of teaching them how to be good.
I think back of when I was young and saw unspeakable things done to other children. I remember them being physically and emotionally tortured. I remember children being humiliated by their unloving abusive parents. These were “normal” two parent Christian households. Throw not the first stone they say, but these people should have had stones thrown at them. When I look back I can’t even say out loud, or write the words of what some of the children I knew when through – it is too disturbing. But I can see patterns in the type of parents they had. Some things never seem to change.
Fortunately now there are resources, though not enough, for children who need help. There is never enough help. Foster care isn’t an answer. Family counseling isn’t a solution. These kids need new permanent families who love them, even if it isn’t a traditional family.
I see families where step-parents are the real parents. I see single dads and moms raising kids on their own and the kids are GREAT. I see kids doing great things. I see them talking about everything. I see them questioning the world. They need to question. They need to have their own opinions in order to grow.
Well mannered and polite teens are more of the rule. They aren’t the exception.
The teens in my life have more empathy than anyone of my generation ever had. They are smart. They are focused. They like old people.
They question the world around them. They want to make the world a better place.
The media would have you think otherwise.
If you want the teens and young adults in your life to show respect then you have to give some respect as well. You need to listen to them. I don’t mean “blah blah blah” sort of listening. I mean hearing what they have to say. I mean respecting their opinions even if you don’t agree. I mean explaining things to them if you’re pissed off rather than yelling at them.
Show them that their time is as important as yours. Because it is.
Yes, of course there are kids who are assholes, bullies, trolls, turds, tattlers and trouble makers. But look at their parents. The adults they live with are usually assholes, bullies, trolls, turds, tattlers and trouble makers. Unfortunately for the rest of us, and for teachers, there are one or two of those children (and their awful parents) in every single classroom.
And you know what? It is those asshole parents who post those negative memes. So screw them. If they want respect they have to show a little respect. Show a little interest. Get out of your own head and your own tiny little world. Learn something new.
Fortunately by the time kids are in high school a lot of the assholes (and others) have learned that their behavior gets them nowhere. Teens aren’t playing by playground rules anymore. Assholes are put in their place, and a lot of them realize what jerks they’ve been. It is called growing up.
In AP History the 11th grade students are reading Huckleberry Finn. My daughter and I have discussed the book and the context of the book considering when it was written.
She said, “Huck’s father was just like the white trash, or any of the trash that you see now. They don’t want their kids to do better than they did. It is awful.”
So if you see a kid who is an asshole consider the source. Consider who that child is learning from. Maybe that kid can learn from you. Think about it.
It isn’t Vampires you should fear. It is apathy. It is lack of empathy. It is people refusing to listen to everyone, young and old.
You need to study history because if you don’t know where you’ve been you can’t understand where you are going.
In turn, we need to look forward to the future. We need to listen to the young people and have open discussions with them. For they are the ones who can change the future. Now is a scary time. Now is the time to listen to the teens and young adults. They can see with a fresh eye all of the bull shit the rest of us have become numb to.
So stop complaining and see the incredible talent and resources right in front of us – in our young people. If you’d just open your eyes, your ears, and your heart you will see what I see.
Spend some time with a young adult – some real quality time. It isn’t all smart phones and hook ups. It is a lot more.
~ Juliette aka The Old Vampire Maman