Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Generations I came from

Well, here I am, sitting in a stereotypical coffee shop and writing on my blog. When did I get so predictable? This is actually my first time writing in this environment, but it is interesting to see the different demographics in the room. There's the large group in the corner with a tired looking woman breastfeeding her baby (thankfully, this act is discreetly covered with a cloth!); the multi-generational threesome of an obvious mother, daughter and grandmother, which is rather sweet; the duo of mother and daughter, but the mother looks about the same age as the daughter in her manner of dress and hair, with the exception of wisdom framing her eyes as she lectures her daughter; and lastly, the group of teenagers that are too young to drink daily stimulants such as lattes but instead sit in a group not so much conversing as playing on their phones in each other's presence.

On that subject, I really don't feel as if that much time has passed since high school until I see these kids. "These Kids!"-yep, I'm officially old. But I can't relate anymore. Who'd have thought that when my best friend and I were in grade school, we were super cool because of our oversized eye glasses! Now, kids purposefully wear these large prescriptionless specs as something of a cool pass. Is it an homage to Justin Beiber's babyface style? Next, the little initial stickers will return with a stylish vengeance and grace the lower corners of the clear lenses, too. Hey, I was very proud of my "FM" adorned glasses in third grade, or as much as one could be of wearing glasses and still hoping that Michael J Fox would someday fall in love with me even though I wore glasses. Now, big glasses are a calling card.

Another thing I can't seem to relate to is how selfish they appear to be. I mean, kids are naturally selfish, it's part of the development of the psyche, but to watch these three teenagers playing tossing games on the table with their cell phones is hard to watch. Even one of the girls is trying to knock the lone male's phone out of his hand and onto the floor as he is texting or surfing or whatever he's doing. I keep looking up from my typing and cringing because of the constant "smack," "thud" and giggling coming from their tables. Sheesh! I can't believe how they're treating their expensive phones. Let's just say that I waited until I was 36 to get an I-Phone and if it breaks, my mom isn't going to buy me another one!

It just seems so different than when I was a kid. I knew the value of a dollar and that you had to work for what you had. (Insert, "These young whippersnappers!" anywhere in here.) I knew what my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents worked for and how that made them thankful for what they had to give future generations. Our histories as families and a country are invaluable resources for guiding us to build future generations full of creativity, character and perseverance. Those traits are what I hope to inspire in my own children, too. It's a huge responsibility to be a parent and a huge opportunity also.

Now I do see the irony that probably 30 years ago, plenty of others were having these same feelings of worry, concerned about the future of the younger generation and these concerns are a natural rite of passage as a parent. But the difference is that it was a much simpler time when I was a kid, it really was! Days were filled with Beverly Cleary library books, absent of handheld computers for the young masses and more opportunities for creativity, such as toys that didn't need to be plugged in. I knew how to sit in a waiting room without a smartphone and skim a magazine or drive on a long car trip without a DVD player and only my imagination to entertain me. Like I said, a simpler time.

So as I climb down from my sudden soapbox, I sigh with the realization that my family's example of character, creativity and perseverance won't be lost as they continue to age. Because I'm here and it's my job to walk the walk that they have taught me. So I guess I'll keep walking.

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