Andrew Harmon


 

 

Bridging the Generation Gap
 

by C Double R

My, my, my… how things have changed. I remember when I was a kid, we had to use handles on all adult names — no, ifs, ands, or buts about it. We had to call Aunt Yonnie, “Aunt Yonnie” even if she was only seven years older than my oldest brother. We used a handle for all adults whether it was “Mister”, “Miss”, “Uncle” or “Aunt”. We always spoke when we stepped into a room, always said “excuse me” if we needed to say something when adults were talking, and always, always said “please” and “thank you”. We were thankful for a roof being over our heads, for three meals a day and for having clean clothes on our backs. We didn’t take extravagant summer trips. If we made it to Wildwood, it was like going to Disney World. Today’s generation doesn’t have a clue about how fortunate and blessed they are; and unfortunately, because of this, many are rude, disrespectful and believe that everything is supposed to be given to them —regardless of whether they earn it or not. Are we raising a generation of spoil brats?

I will be the first to admit that I am sometimes guilty of going overboard with my son. I believe that some parents do go overboard with their children because they didn’t have certain things growing up; therefore, they want their children to have the materialistic things they couldn’t have as a child. But where do we draw the line? We, as parents, must make our children earn the right to have lavish gifts and we must raise our children as we were raised —the “old school way”. By the time my son was two years old, he was saying, “excuse me”, “please” and “thank you”. Do you want to know why? Because that’s how I was raised! We weren’t monetarily rich children, but we were rich in mannerism and respectfulness.

We need to bridge the gap by teaching, and showing, our children how blessed they are to have every game console from the Wii, Playstation 3 to the Xbox Kinect, and the numerous pairs of Jordans, and show our children how fortunate they are by having them volunteer their time to the less fortunate. The first time my son volunteered he had such a greater appreciation of the things he did have and actually thanked me for letting him volunteer. Another thing we can do is to give them chores around he house. My son is nine years old and has been responsible for taking out the trash since he was seven years old. He goes around the house and collects all of the trash, takes it to the bin and drags it to the curb every Monday night. It starts with the small things that grow into the bigger things that make our children more appreciative of the things they have. Why? Because they have earned these things and have seen how the less fortunate live.

As parents, we also need to talk to our children more about our upbringing. We need to communicate more and have them listen to our stories about our childhood. This is also great bonding time because we can laugh and talk to our children all the while teaching them how to be more appreciative of all the things they do have. Also, have your children talk to other family members, such as your parents, uncles and aunts so they can understand the struggles and understand how important self-respect, education and dreams are for anyone to succeed in this world. We need to help them understand that they don’t need to shake their butt, sell drugs, hold a microphone, or carry a ball in their hand in order to be successful. We need to teach our children, at a very young age, that they can be, and do, anything they want in this world; including being a doctor, inventor, lawyer, politician, or business person. We need to instill core values in our children that will blossom into self-respect and ambition that will carry them throughout their adult life. It starts with the home.
I’m just saying.

 

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