I had a visceral reaction rivaled only by my aunt telling me WWE wrestling was fake. I blabbered on and on about how this is cheating and the whole point of the Rubik’s Cube is to make children feel frustrated and small. My son just stared at me, convinced I had officially lost my shit.
I love technology. Hell, I work in technology. It is mind-blowing that our kids and every generation after will never know what it is like not to rely on technology. My toddler will never know that people used to talk on the phone to someone without seeing them. My daughter will never know the frustration of using a card catalogue. But to solve a Rubik’s Cube? I’m drawing a line in the quicksand.
Don’t get me wrong, I have Googled some pretty strange things in my day. When I was pregnant with my first child, I actually Googled “Can you break your vagina?” because my nether regions felt like they were being stabbed with a knife. Turns out it was just contractions (I would have rather broken my vagina). And my husband and I landscaped our entire front yard one weekend after watching the Lawn Ranger’s instructional videos, once we stopped laughing at him.
At what point does technology impede self-reliance? Kids don’t have to figure things out anymore, they just Google it. My generation, Gen X, is a notoriously skeptical bunch. We live by the motto “trust but validate.” The Millennials that came after us seem entitled, perpetually in a state of delayed adulthood. They leave home, marry and secure jobs three to five years later. They are, as a generation, more reliant on their parents than any generation before.
But entitlement is a learned behavior. So how do I raise my children to feel less entitled when technology allows every aspect of their lives to feel so much easier? Of course each generation wants everything to be better for their children than they had it. But my kids must understand freedom without responsibility means little. No amount of technology or shortcuts will replace hard work. You may rise to the top faster, but it will never be as rewarding.
We live in a time where helicopter parenting is in abundance. This heightened focus on children as the center of parents’ lives comes from a place of love. But what are the consequences of this constant coddling when these kids leave the nest? How do we teach self-actualization when every interaction, every situation beforehand has been over-directed? We must balance this with the fear of looking back and feeling we simply did not do enough.
It remains a continuous struggle to raise the next generation of leaders and thinkers. Whether you are a parent, family member, teacher or friend, we all must take into consideration the traits we wish for their future. It’s difficult to step back from the day-to-day grind of parenting, it feels monumental. But perhaps that’s what it will take to understand the characteristics that will make them successful, well-adjusted adults. Once these become tangible, perhaps backing into a parenting style that allows these qualities to be nurtured can help us all feel a little more in control.