“Kids are so different these days”, “This generation just doesn’t get it”, “Back when I was doing it, we were nothing like these kids”. I’m sure you have heard one of these sayings, or something that sounds extremely similar (like every T-Pain song). I AM TIRED OF ADULTS BLAMING KIDS FOR EVERYTHING. The problem doesn’t lie with today’s youth, it lies with those responsible for leading them.
I heard Frank Martin, Kansas State Head Men’s Basketball Coach, speak a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t agree with him more when he said, “Kids haven’t changed, we have.” If this generation is different it’s because we have allowed them to be. Young people will get away with what you let them. If kids seem apathetic it’s because adults have rewarded them for doing nothing. If they seem entitled, it’s because parents, teachers and coaches have given them things they haven’t earned. If they seem disinterested, in anything other than their selfish desires, it’s because adults have let them do things like sit at the dinner table with their headphones on (probably beats by Dre), blasting songs from their iPod (probably a tune about some kind of swag). If they seem like they lack respect for authority, it’s because they’ve been allowed to do and say whatever they want. What do we really expect when the expectations for behavior are set so low?
For some reason, this generation of adults vowed to “not be like my parents” and have kept their word. Instead of having the courage to discipline kids, they’d prefer to have the audacity to become confrontational when someone else has to. I was recently asked, “With today’s kids how do you plan to instill the type of program you want.” My answer was simple, “It’s an easy decision for them when they don’t have a choice.”
I could be in the minority on this matter, as legendary coach John Wooden even wrote about how times had changed in his 1997 book “Wooden – A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court”:
“There was a time when the vast majority would follow blindly, even into the shadow of death, but such is not the case now. Young people of today are far more aware, inclined to be more openly critical and more genuinely inquisitive than they used to be. So leaders must work with them somewhat differently.”
I wrote the preceding observation more than a quarter of a century ago. Are people really that different today? Have times changed so much? I wonder about that.
Then again, maybe I’m not the only one that sees the need for real leaders and less figure heads. Growing up I vowed never to be like Vivian Hawes (my mom) but eventually became wise enough to pray that I could be just like her. After all, her only son turned out O.K….I think.