Posted on: March 4, 2008 10:34 am

The future and our children

Odd thoughts while wondering whatever happened to Hal Greer:

Every generation seems to live with the same dilemma:

How did this upcoming generation of young people miss the mark so far? Why are they so much worse than we were? Our parents felt that way about us, and their parents felt that way about them.

Now we transfer that to the current generation.

The truth is, this generation is smarter than we've ever been. They are more worldly. Unfortunately, they are forced to grow up much younger than we had to.

We've polarized them. They either believe strongly that there is a God of the universe, or they don't. Many come from homes with incomplete parental influence. Male role models/father figures are in scarce supply for a number of reasons.

In spite of all this, this current group of young people give me hope. You see, they are smarter than we are. All we can provide them is wisdom. My business mentor taught me that good judgement comes from excercising lots of bad judgement. Therefore, he who screws up the most AND learns from it, wins. Wisdom comes from living life, not reading books or looking up stuff on the internet.

Our issue is, we don't let our kids screw up. We do it for them. While they are smarter, they don't have to do anything. Parents are always trying to make sure they give the kids all the advantages they never had as a child. The biggest advantage they can give them is the ability to work their way out of a problem without the parents solving it. Kids will fall short of the mark, and the parent will cry, " But I gave them everything they wanted". The problem is we give them too much of what they want, and not enough of what they need. The one thing we all need is the tough love approach of working out a problem we got ourselves into.

Understand this: the child will never appreciate that lesson. Not at the moment. It isn't until they live some life that they will appreciate you allowing them to struggle. Struggle = stress. Stress = growth. Nothing grows in the absence of stress. Our job isn't to make our children happy. Our job is to raise them. Unfortunately, we fail them most of the time. Happiness is a byproduct of how we live our life. We are not promised happiness, just the pursuit of happiness.

I've always operated by several life principles concerning young people.

  • Kids are not afforded the constitutional right to the presumption of innocence.  Kids are guilty until proven innocent. This serves them well, unless you are trying to raise a world class liar. They will push you as far as possible. If your child tells you a teacher did something to them at school, they are lying. Of course, this is only 98% true, but calling it early will keep you from having to distinguish between fact and fiction when the rubber meets the road in the adolescent years. Partner with the educators. You will be amazed how quickly your child will stop playing the game and get to work when they realize they can't play you and the teacher against each other.
  • Kids will do what is expected of them, no more and no less.   If you expect nothing, you will get it. If you expect great things, you will get it. It is a self fulfilling prophecy. How many parents raise their kids telling them that they will amount to nothing, then be able to say "I told you so" as they are marched off to jail? Expect great things from you kids, and celebrate the attempt to reach that lofty goal.
  • An explanation is not an excuse.   They can explain until they are blue in the face why they don't get their stuff done, but it does not excuse it. To accept less totally goes against helping them achieve their potential.

I am in an environment daily with high school aged kids. I've never met a kid yet who wishes to be a failure. My role in their life is to show them that they must work hard to get above the 'average' line of life. It all comes down to high expectations, genuine caring about them as people and consequences for actions.

Our future is in great hands.....now if we'll just do our job of nurturing it.

Take care!

Category: General
Tags: kids, Parenting
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