Kids these days…
We’ve heard it a bajillion times in a bajillion different ways. Kids these days… When I was a kid… Spoiled brats… Millennials… Special snowflakes… Blah. Blah. Blah.
It’s nothing new, of course. Variations on kids these days is a song that people have been singing since the beginning of time, basically whenever people want to bitch about how awful the current generation is while stroking their own ego with rose-colored visions of how they raised kids.
I imagine the Pioneers, as they rode their covered wagons across the country, complained about the “special snowflakes” who just didn’t know the meaning of a hard day’s work. Parents of the Founding Fathers probably complained about how when they were kids, they couldn’t afford to just throw away perfectly good tea like those rebellious heretics. Heck, cavemen and cavewomen probably bemoaned kids these days for their inability to not get maimed by a saber-toothed tiger.
Kids these days is a phrase as old as the day is long (and when you’re parenting a teething baby and tantrum-prone threenager, believe me, the day is very long). The phrase is tired and meaningless. Quite frankly, it’s bullshit. Also, we would like it if you could find a new phrase ASAP.
But since people seem hell-bent on continuing to use the old adage, let’s talk about kids these days…
Kids these days are tolerant and accepting. They embrace differences. They know that gender doesn’t mean they can or can’t do something. Boys can wear tutus, and girls can be president. They know that families come in all shapes and sizes.
Kids these days know what bullying looks like and how to stop it. They create Buddy Benches and reach out to kids who need a friend. We might hear more stories about bullying and other negative behaviors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s happening more often, just that kids these days are less willing to put up with it or look the other way.
Kids these days are saving the world. They are fighting for the planet and for everyone living on it. While most adults remain inactive or in denial when it comes to climate change, the Climate Kids — a group of 21 kids ages 9 to 20 — are suing the federal government for its role in causing carbon pollution and climate change. These kids are stepping up to the plate for all of us and being the change they want to see in the world.
Kids these days are activists. They use school assignments to educate others about marginalized groups and social justice causes. They write letters to Hillary Clinton and dress up like Ruth Bader Ginsberg for Superhero Day, because they know that the real superheroes aren’t the fictional ones in a comic book or action movie but the people fighting for our rights every day.
Kids these days are using technology to expand their worlds and connect with others. They are using their intellect and creativity to code and teach their grandparents how to use Snapchat. They are coming up with new ways to solve problems and looking at the world with fresh eyes.
Kids these days are big-hearted, kind, and generous. They grow their hair and donate it to kids with cancer. They ask for donations to others on their birthday and holiday wish lists. They befriend people who are older or younger or different than them because they know that what really matters in friendship is a person’s heart.
Kids these days are sensitive and caring, hard-working and resilient. Sure, they make mistakes and mess up, but so do adults. They’re kids, and we’re only human, after all. No one’s perfect, no matter how much you think things were so much better “when you were a kid.”
Spare me the kids these days complaints and eyerolls and exasperated sighs. Because kids these days are really freaking awesome. Get on their level.