Columns

Kids these days

help kids, good kids

Twitter did an exercise this past April where they asked people to tweet out their own ending to the sentence “Kids these days..” and here are some of the responses that came in:

“Can’t write in cursive” — @boblewellyn

 “In too much debt” — @nateopotatoe

 “Take too many selfies!” — @billy_Pentz

“Entitled and technology addicted” -@jackblas97

“A bunch of assholes, of course not everyone but still” –@FrostedPhantom1

Not an overall positive impression, but not unexpected or even unusual. In 1921, a Cambridge student by the name of Kenneth John Freeman wrote of children in ancient times as being, “… tyrants, not the slaves, of their households. They no longer rose from their seats when an elder entered the room; they contradicted their parents, chattered before company, gobbled up the dainties at table, and committed various offences  …the counts of the indictment are luxury, bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect to elders, and a love for chatter in place of exercise. …”

 This type of refrain where the previous generation bemoans the crass behavior of the current one has gone on for as long as there were generations to compare with. Offenses can be harsh in tone, like that of  Mr. Freeman calling them “Tyrants” and Mr. Phantom tweeting a modern name with the same meaning.

 Or, they can be tongue in cheek, almost rites of passage in nature.  For example, I don’t know about you all but when I complained as a girl about my mile walk home from the school bus each day, I learned that my very own father had to walk home 10 miles, in the snow, uphill, Both Ways just to get to the halfway point of his trek to school.  I think he must have grown up with some of my friends’ fathers because, turns out, they had similar hardships to share.

Tirade or tease, I think it’s safe to say that most of our assumptions about others, be they kids or anyone else, generally turn out to be wrong.

And comparison really is the thief of joy.  So, on this start to a new summer break with all of Montrose’s students now loose on the town, I have a few additions I’d like to share about things I’ve seen kids these days do.

Kids these days help out. From carrying boxes to holding doors to mowing lawns to washing windows, I know a small army of kids eager to help out with absolutely any chore.  

Kids these days are wanters. They want to be seen, to fit in, to be good at something, to have friends, to be liked, to feel safe.  A lot of us are like  a lot of kids these days in that way.

Kids these days are caring. I watched a group of traditionally ROWDY 8th grade boys play football with their teacher’s little toddler son and it was the most caring behavior you can imagine. They pretended to be tackled, let him score all the goals, quickly and gently caught him each time his little legs tripped. Caring.

Kids these days are also loving. They leave little thank you notes in your purse, flowers and chocolates on your desk, hug first when tears show up, and ask if we can give an end of year gift to the crossing guards.

They are polite too. Please and Thank You are not foreign languages to them, and doors held open is a habit, not a mistake. Kids these days are in fact great with manners, and those that aren’t yet fluent in this behavior are eager to become so. Kids these days are eager to do the right things. Kids these days are eager to know what the right things are.

So as you head out into your summer vacations and the sidewalks, parks, pools, and playgrounds fill up, don’t listen to the nagging voice we all carry around inside saying how rough around the edges kids these days are. As someone who works with them day in and day out, I promise you, kids these days are kind, funny, willing, curious, cheerful, nervous, hyper, happy, worried, tired, bold, brave, hard-working, lazy, hungry, growing, frustrated, bored, determined, embarrassed, lively, silly, able, clever, giving, proud, trusting, troubled, thoughtful, busy, young, and hopeful.

Kids these days… are a lot like people. Just bouncier, because they’re kids.

 

                                 Happy Summer Montrose!

 

About the author

Jamie Gann

Jamie Gann

Jamie Gann grew up in Montrose and recently returned to teach writing at Centennial. Her first Monitor writings came via the South American travel blog her family kept during their sabbatical year. She has also written for The Crested Butte News, Radical Family Sabbatical, Gringos Abroad, and Outside In Travel Magazine. She has always had a love of words, which is only surpassed by her love of family. She is primarily a mom to two boys, for whom there are no words beautiful enough to describe.