This topic again. But it’s just never-ending. The discouragement, the negativity, the fear: Why can people not see that their pessimism towards our generation’s lack of work ethic only makes it worse?
Now, I understand the perspective. As a generalization, there is a significant difference in the effort and trying that my generation puts into a job or task as compared to an older age bracket. But I think it’s finally time to recognize that the derogatory comments are only making us defensive. And as with most adults, defensiveness leads to closed mindedness, and close mindedness means no one is improving. I must ask, if you really are that concerned and distraught that your rant regarding our indolence is never ending, then why not use your creative intelligence and energy (which we so apparently lack) to motivate us?
Why should you be bothered? How is it your problem to fix?
Well... you made us this way. Multiple decisions you made during our upbringing created us to be the lacklustre cohort as you view us. But I’m going to focus on just one of these decisions.
Naturally, we want to protect our children and want what’s best for them. No one likes suffering. No one likes seeing their kids endure grief and frustration.
But life is difficult*. There will always be problems, fighting, anger, despair, sadness, and hurt, - the list goes on. Responsibility as a parent is to teach your kids about life and how to deal with it. So I must ask, in taking all measures to avoid the discomfort that life so readily delivers, what are you really teaching your children?
Are you teaching them how to be problem solvers? Are you teaching them the concept of delayed gratification (i.e., work before play?) Are you teaching them about over-coming challenge and frustration to grow and learn maturely? Are you teaching them about work ethic?
No. You are teaching them to avoid suffering and problems. But, this is not how we grow and learn. We need to go through the suffering, not around it*. And teaching this to your children is an extremely important part of growing up. As a child, when you witness an over-protective parent, or a parent who they themselves do what they can to avoid dealing with their problems and finding solutions, then that is what you learn about how to live life.
Now, don’t twist my words. You know I’m not saying that you should put your child through undue harm or just let them do things that could hurt them. I shouldn’t even have to explain that there is a necessary balance.
The next time little Tommy hits little sister Sally, rather than screaming ‘No!’ and running to a psychologist as to why your child could possibly behave this way, how about sitting down and going through the suffering and the problem solving WITH your kids. Teaching them that issues and problems are something to face and work through.
Because in those moments of problems, fighting, anger, despair, sadness, and hurt, the opportunity of solutions, peace, calm, joy and relief are ready to shine through.
Anyway, this blog isn’t meant to be “how to parent your kids,” or even finger-pointing at all the parents of my so-called non-working generation. It’s something to think about regarding possibly why we have become this way, and maybe what we can learn about how to make it better; about how we can learn some self-discipline, delayed gratification, and the concept of valuing our time through valuing ourselves*.
So now, I encourage us all (my peers included), to put our heads together and work through the problem of our current lethargic nature. Don’t ignore it and pretend it’s not there. Don’t become exasperated and pass the trouble on to someone else.
Please, if you love us, take some portion of responsibility, and be willing to go through the suffering and the problem solving with us.
*Select thoughts and points taken from “The Road Less Traveled“ (C)1978 – M. Scott Peck, M.D.