As I travel and speak on school campuses, in athletic departments, in companies or in churches, I consistently hear adults moan about kids today. “Those lazy, entitled, coddled slackers,” they say, “are going to ruin our country.”
It may be true.
But if it is, I don’t blame the kids. May I remind you that young people are the products of the world adults have created for them. If a kid acts irresponsibly, could it be that a parent failed to consistently enforce consequences for their poor decisions? If a student acts entitled, could it be that parents or teachers coddled them and didn’t push them to grow up? If a college graduate moves home, unprepared for the real world, who failed to prepare them?
I’ve included one of my favorite poems below. It says it all:
We read it in the papers and hear on the air;
Of killing and stealing and crime everywhere.
We sigh and we say as we notice the trend,
this young generation…where will it end?
But can we be sure that it’s their fault alone?
These kids who do things that we don’t condone;
Who was it shaping their first twenty years?
And who made the world they enjoy with their peers?
Are we less guilty, who place in their way.
Too many things that lead them astray?
Too many credit cards, too much idle time;
Too many movies of passion and crime.
Too many books not fit to be read,
Too many damaging things they hear said.
Too many children encouraged to roam,
Too many parents who won’t stay at home.
Kids don’t make the movies, they don’t write the books.
They don’t make the video games with gangsters and crooks.
They don’t make the liquor, they don’t run the bars,
They don’t change the laws, they don’t make the cars.
They don’t make the drugs, that muddle the brain;
That’s all done by older folks…eager for gain.
Those self-absorbed teens, oh how we condemn,
The flaws of our nation and blame it on them.
But rather than fixing blame, let’s fix the cause,
Let’s look in the mirror and conclude as we pause;
That in so many cases — it’s sad but it’s true —
The title “Delinquent” fits older folks too.