Andrew Harmon




By Lisa Morton

Being a worthy part of the “village” of young people keeps me on my toes. Whether it’s my family, my kid’s friends or my friend’s kids, I find myself asking more frequently, “where are the standards and expectations for our young people today?” Baggy pants, the appearance of underwear…everywhere, over exposed body parts, tattoos, the foul, foul mouths, unkempt appearance, the angry scowls and the disrespect of elders… (And by the way, this behavior applies to male and female, urban and suburban …what gives?) This conversation may be old and rehashed but it definitely needs to be on-going. And before you start teeing off on me, I’m not saying all young people. I am talking about those who are choosing to be followers not leaders. I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker… I am a mother.

Growing up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I had my share of being raised by the proverbial village and I am better for it. During those decades there was no such thing as being “P.C.” (Politically correct), if an adult (related and unrelated) had a problem with you or what you were doing, you knew about it and talking back to an adult made you an anomaly. I tested the waters but when I got right up on that line I knew to retreat. And yes, there is good and bad in being politically correct. What do I mean? Sometimes being “P.C.” means you are not truthful and in not being truthful you do more harm then good. There is a way to deliver constructive, corrective criticism in a non-offensive manner.

Every day I am amazed at the unabashed sense of entitlement of some young people and the lackadaisical work ethic that comes along with it. The lack of communication skills, both spoken and written, leaves a lot to be desired. In the workplace, their lack of understanding office protocol results in awkward situations. What happened to “good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.”? And while I am not talking about being that person who is always in corrective mode, I am talking about encouraging the use of good grammar, reading so their minds are open to new worlds and ideas, participating in the lost art of conversation, not texting, emailing or tweeting but speaking so they can hear the inflection in someone’s voice. Getting the nuances of what someone is trying to say, what they are feeling, seeing their face…reading their expressions so when they are engaged with family and friends using the myriad of devices and portals used to communicate, they can decipher a person’s “tone” in an email, text or tweet. Perhaps this simple exercise can help them not jump to conclusions resulting in bad decisions based on miscommunication.

I hear “that’s the way young people are today”, “you are gonna’ have to let that go because that’s not how they do it anymore.” Really?! Really?! I say, shame on any adult dropping the ball and buying into that train of thought. In every generation young people push the envelope, as they should; I am talking about standards along with a plan, plain and simple. Having standards means you have an idea of what you envision for your life, an idea of the people who can help get you there using your God given talents and gifts. In turn, when the plan grows, evolves or changes because we all grow, evolve and change that exposure to vocabulary and real conversation will keep them moving forward.

There is a car commercial currently running on national television that states “good things come to those who wait, truth is good things come to those who work.” I would add the words “hard and smart” to the end of that statement because the truth is anything worth having or doing is not handed to you. It’s earned through hours of studying, exploring and mastering what you are passionate about. I enjoy talking to young people; their view of their life and times helps me identify what they need from me to help keep their standards high and their plans alive. Let’s keep this in mind when we interact with all young people, our own, extended family, your kid’s friends or your friend’s kids. It just may bring you the fulfillment you are looking for in your own life and make the world-at-large a better place.



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