It’s easy to make fun of millennials by calling them snowflakes and poking fun of their safe zones. I’m guessing the original safe zones called home. Weren’t we the ones who wanted to protect our children from the harsh realities of life?
A child gets in trouble at school and rather than take the opportunity to teach the importance of respecting an adult we marched down and complain to the school principal. Our intentions were pure – defending our children is always well-intentioned. But we taught our child they can get away with poor behavior because Mommy and Daddy will be there to cover.
A child is bored on a Sunday afternoon because time seems to stand still. Their favorite TV shows are not on and “there is nothing to do.” Rather than engage them in dialog or simply spending time with them, we turn on the X-Box, Wii or PlayStation.
A child bombarded with graphic explosions and special effects tends to get bored in a slower pace reality of a classroom. And we wonder why kids can’t pay attention in school. They are expecting the teacher’s head to explode or assign the next mission not drone on about dangling participles.
Children are used to instant gratification. They are hungry and we drop everything to get them a snack. They are tired and we leave the party so they “don’t get cranky.” They do not like green vegetables so rather than teach them the importance of eating what is made we make excuses and bring a baggie of chicken nuggets. Heaven forbid our precious offspring have to rough it for a day and eat something they believe is “yucky.”
Once again, we have the best of intention but our quest to make our children happy in the moment is misguided. We may succeed at making them happy in short tern but we screw them for the long term. Children who do not learn to delay gratification are not going to be able to function under stress.
One of my favorite lines when my children got upset at one of my decision is “I am not parenting for today, I am parenting for tomorrow.” They didn’t – and still don’t – understand the figurative sense of that line but they’ll get it eventually.
And don’t get me started on the stupidity of making sure every child gets a trophy. There are winners and losers in competitions. The winner of a game is not a winner in life and the same is true for the loser. He simply won a game. Children need to fail. That is the only way they will learn how to deal with life.
I do not mean accept failing but they need to learn how to handle failure. Children need to wake up, they need to show up, they can look up, and they always need to get up. But they should never give up.
It’s easy to make fun of millennials for their inability to handle life. When you are over 50 years-old, you know life has a way of humbling everyone at some point. But, at 50 years-old, you have a decade more experience than millennials have lived in their lifetime.
Who’s to blame? That’s a trick question. There is no one to blame. It’s how life works.