I know that many youngsters are growing up with a sense of entitlement but, wow, I didn’t realize it was so bad.
I don’t spend much time with kids and teens, even my own nephews and niece. So, at a recent family function I got insight into their lives while chatting with my teenage nephews.
I believe they were only half listening to me because, well, my face isn’t a phone screen so they showed little interest in the conversation, though I was able to gain insight into their way of thinking.
First, you’d conclude their phone clutched in their hands were a part of their body. That is to say that if you removed it, it’d be akin to removing a vital organ. They couldn’t function without it. They couldn’t live. It’s the end of the world. They’d cease to be.
Second, they want things given to them. In this instance, “they” is teenagers, not specifically my nephews — though, they, too. They have Amazon wish lists and apps for people to send them money. That’s right, kids want people — friends, maybe even random strangers — to buy them stuff online and, just for the hell of it, send them money.
I was shown one of their friends who has a social media campaign to “send money for my birthday.” As a kid, that was always, kind of, like, a bonus if someone gave you cash for your birthday. Maybe you wanted it, sure you expected it, but you never point blank told people to hand over money.
When I was a teenager and wanted a tiny 13-inch TV for my bedroom, I had to save up the $200 to buy it for myself. I wouldn’t have thought to go around campaigning for donations from people.
I’ve always felt a sense of pride when I’ve been able to do something or get something for myself. When I bought my TV, when I bought my own computer, when I bought a house at 25 years old — it was all me. Me. I did it with my own money that I worked for, or at the very least saved from those birthday or Christmas gifts – that I got unsolicited.
What’s strange, in the case of my nephew, who does have a part-time job, is that he already says, “There’s no way I can live on minimum wage.” Really. He’s not even old enough to drive yet he’s concluded that he can’t survive on $14.15 per hour.
When I told him that my first job was $5.40 per hour he accused me of lying. Yup. Things were different in 1998. Things were very different in the years before that.
It’ll be interesting to see when, or if, that generation will become independent or simply expect to coast through life getting handouts and relying on others to support them. As a non-parent, I’m eager to watch it play out from the sidelines.