When I sat down to write this column, I was motivated to write about something entirely different. Isn’t it funny how life will throw things at you just when you think you have them figured out? This is one of those times and all it took was seeing some babies associated with March of Dimes.
Understand, when it comes to kids and dogs, I have an especially tender heart. As an 8-year-old I had to sponsor a kid in Africa for the price of a cup of coffee a day, twisting my parents arms until they agreed. Eventually it had to come to a stop because I was insisting on sending soccer balls, pets, food, books or whatever I could think of for Christmas.
Let’s face it, I wasn’t a small kid so feeding me and a third world country wasn’t an option for my working class family. Suffice it to say, most adults don’t get any sympathy from me, but kids, that’s totally different … at least for now.
As of late I’ve been struggling with what I can only call the sense of entitlement people walk around with, using it as a club anytime it suits them to get whatever it is they feel they’ve suffered enough to deserve.
I have to admit, these people are, for the most part, my generation, the over 40 but not yet old club. But, like I said above, I don’t usually have sympathy for adults, so I let it go. Most of the time at least, until someone flies into what I call “Jerry Springer Syndrome” where he who yells loudest and longest wins, and then … well, I don’t handle it with kindness to be truthful.
Now, this sense of entitlement is being passed on to the next generation of kids and I have to say I am at my wit’s end. I realize it isn’t popular to discipline children any longer and that no one under the age of 12 should not get a ribbon or trophy for just participating, but is this really the best thing for the kids?
And those are just two examples of how society has decided that children are to be placed upon a shelf and worshipped as if they were demi-gods from some Roman mythological tragedy.
I think it does far more damage than people realize.
What was once a nation and society that stuck to its guns, raised its children to be responsible adults that contributed to society has now become a slowly decaying country of spoiled adults. Am I referring to everyone? No, obviously not, but the majority is there and all you have to do is look around to see it.
So what’s the problem with this change in our collective societal conscience that makes this practice detrimental?
In my opinion it’s simple: when kids are coddled their entire lives, overprotected and never wrong when it comes to their parents, we send them out into the world with an unrealistic expectation of their place in it. I am all for encouraging our children to dream, stretch for their goals, take a chance and live your passions, but I don’t think it should stop there. As a parent it’s our responsibility to prepare our kids for what is a cold, hard world and leaving them with an impression otherwise is unfair to them.
No one wants their child or children to have a hard life growing up, and I’m not advocating anything near the realm of child abuse, so take a deep breath and relax. What I am advocating is taking a longer view, looking down the road, and envisioning them as adults in some of the same situations we, as their parents, face every day in our jobs and interactions with others and ask a simple question of yourself.
Is my child prepared to face this situation and come out ahead, or do they have any idea what to expect when they are no longer under my roof?
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.