Those were the good old days. Sure, we didn’t have the Internet, smartphones or bluray players, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
Watching my son grow up, I often wonder just what it must be like for him to grow up in this age of high speed information.
Social media is something I use for both my business and keeping in touch with friends. For kids today, it’s a way of life.
And yet, some things never change.
I am constantly reminded of this when I sit down with my younger clients or listen to the stories of those clients with children.
Just the other day, an ex-student of mine was telling me about what was going on in her life.
In a nutshell, she’s pretty much in hell.
All thanks to one very overprotective parent.
With her passport is locked away in a safe along with all of her other valuable documentation, it’s not surprising to hear that things can get “a little tense” from time to time.
My ex-student’s solution: as soon as she graduates from university, she’ll get married to her boyfriend who she’s known for a whole two months.
What could possibly go wrong?
Unfortunately, this is an all too familiar story. One I know the ending to.
It has nothing to do with race, language, money, or sex. The fact is that kids will be kids.
Teenagers (and sometimes tweens) the world are usually one or more of the following:
- Feel invincible
- Think they are the center of the world
- Don’t worry about their body, food intake, exercise
- Ignore the dangers of sex
- Think sex and love are the same thing
- Ignore their parents’ advice
The mistakes we make when we are young
I’ll be the first to admit that I was guilty of some of these. I’m still guilty of being foolish from time to time, just ask my wife. And unfortunately, there are times when I indulge in a little too many brownies.
The difference is, I know I am wrong. As is often said, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.”
Most youngsters are blind to the fact that they are often their own worst enemy.
In my ex-student’s case, all she does it blame her overprotective parent. Now I completely agree that they have overstepped their boundaries, but like most youngsters, she fails to see her role in this.
And getting married with some guy she barely knows has disaster written all over it.
She’s not the first girl to have an overprotective parent. The script she’s writing is an all too familiar one.
We all know how it goes: marriage, followed soon after by divorce.
People (especially teenagers) like to think they are the exception to the rule, but very rarely are we.
You see, none of the things on the list above have anything to do with technology and everything to do with human nature.
That’s why the mistakes we make repeat generation after generation.
One quote my father taught me back in high school was by supposedly said by Mark Twain, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
Sure, our parents drive us nuts from time to time, but they were young once themselves; going through the many of the same issues that youngsters are today.
Unfortunately, many parents also make the mistake of pretending they were perfect. Never sharing their pain. But I’m of the belief that by sharing our past (the good and the bad) we become more real, more relate-able to our children.
Part of growing up is learning to be independent; doing things on our own.
But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Our parents can be a wealth of knowledge if we let them.
Some parents I know think that the mistakes we make are important lessons for us. I couldn’t agree more, mistakes will be made, no matter what. However, there’s no need for them to make the ones we have.
A big part of growing up is learning what NOT to do, and who better to start looking for answers than our own parents.
It’s highly likely they have made their fair share of mistakes. Even if they haven’t, I’m sure they know someone who has.
Personally, I’m glad I grew up without social media and the Internet. I shudder to think just what kind of trouble I would have gotten myself into had I had access to such powerful tools.
However, when it comes all down to it, it’s not the power of your computer, nor the functions on your smartphone that really make the biggest difference in our lives, but rather the person using them: us.
I survived my mistakes, now it’s my job to make sure my son and my clients don’t make the same ones.