Written April 30, 2012     

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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry


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When I was young, you turned 18 and moved out.

That's a generalization, of course, and there were exceptions, but mostly we couldn't wait to be adults. And our parents couldn't wait either.

Because being 18 meant you were an adult.

When I was young, most people went out drinking when they turned 18. They could do that then. Society expected an 18-year-old to be an adult and society treated an 18-year-old like an adult.

Your folks didn't throw you out on your birthday, but after you graduated from high school you either went to college, got a job and a place of your own, or you went in the service. There was none of this sit on mom's couch and play video games.

But times have changed. Adulthood is avoided, adolescence is extended, responsibility is shirked.

We've raised a generation of immature freeloaders.

Again, that is a generalization, and there are exceptions, but increasingly our coddled children are turning into spoiled adults. Only they're not quite adults.

Because an adult eats his bread by the sweat of his brow. An adult is responsible for his upkeep and maintenance. An adult does not expect to be served, but expects to serve.

An adult cares for his parents instead of expecting them to care for him. An adult understands that responsibility is more important than recreation, that being useful and productive are more important than being entertained and amused.

This isn't meant as a condemnation, but as a warning. A warning to parents raising children now, and a warning to children already raised. A warning to be alert and alarmed, to be determined and directed.

Because our lives of ease may be the root of the problem. There is little struggle and sacrifice in the lives of young people anymore. Most things are handed to them on a sliver platter.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, the generosity of parents and the prosperity of society engender not gratitude, but entitlement. We don't count our blessings, we angrily demand more.

Spoiled young people are unappreciative, often turning angrily against parents who have literally slaved for them all of their lives. The connection between hours worked and dollars earned is swept away in the torrent of dollars spent and the lust for more, more, more.

We have raised a generation of consumers instead of producers.

Somehow, this spoiling is involved in narcissism and arrogance. The contempt for parents goes so far as to be a cousin to hatred, with adolescent and quasi-adult children actually trying to hurt their parents.

Even the most benign of stunted young adults are a problem for society. By delaying or avoiding marriage they fail in a fundamental responsibility to society. If nature calls on creatures to reproduce themselves, an increasing number of young adults are deaf to the entreaty.

They don't get jobs, they don't get houses, they don't get spouses and they don't have children.

Again, that is a generalization, but it is a growing trend that threatens the happiness of the people involved and the prosperity of the society at large.

We have forgotten how to raise our young, and consequently they are staying young and we are being deprived of their usefulness and service. We better figure out soon how to change that, or society is going to have some very difficult days ahead.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012

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