Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just Kidding

The travails of being young

Kids in the US don’t seem to have any sense of what constitutes morality or values. Seems they think everything’s cool and its up to the individual to choose. Plenty of upset adults with, “isn’t there something called a xxxxxxxx?”. Replace xxxxxxx with “values”, “social fabric”, “collective good” etc. This is from an article featuring a study in the New York Times this week.

In the UK, parents are spending money buying kids stuff, so they don’t feel “not cool” with their peers. The kids wants their parents to spend time with them instead. So by age 15, the kids have gotten drunk, tried drugs, have been in a relationship etc. Britain’s the worst place in the industrialised world for a kid to grow up. UNICEF report reviewed in The Telegraph, this week.

Three kids committed suicide in Benguluru yesterday. (the newspapers). One was a twelve year old upset that she couldn’t watch TV. Her parent apparently told her that she must study as her grades in the last tests weren’t up to it. I’m quite sure that the it wasn’t the show that was worth dying for. The Wall Street Journal avers that the new thing in Asia is not going to be excellent math but good meth. Young people in Bangalore tell me its pretty routine for kids to do acid trips.

The media is rife with remarks about the impersonalization of life. Facebook is the new hangout place (forget meeting in the flesh), serious communications is 140 characters long and its cool if you don’t have a family or friends......”i’ve got my tablet”.

What to make of all this? Let’s review the cheerful future that awaits if only the kids could get more disciplined:-

The global economy is in the dumps and the integrated world is going to be struggling together. Uncle Sam’s debts exceed GDP, and the EU will stay together “till debt do us apart”.
Competition is at an all time high. Cut-offs for admission to a good college are now at 100% - anything less than perfect..you’re nothing.
Parents when they make money, encourage the kids to smell the roses......especially if they are a six hour flight away in another continent.
“Classic” now means something that happened last year.

Is anything very different really? Let’s take a snapshot of an urban affluent India that I grew up in :
1973 or sometime around then
The global economy is in the dumps. They raised the frigging oil prices overnight! The Indian economy has a budget surplus but you have to stand in queues for your rations of rice, wheat, bread, milk, sugar..........
Competition is at an all time high. Parents telling kids to study hard or.....! Try finding people to play soccer with on exam eve? Only the kids not in school are game.
Parents when they make money, encourage kids to smell the roses......in London or a six hour train / car journey away (ok I’m exaggerating this).
CLassic means something that happened five or seven years ago. “Gee, you listen to that old stuff? (ie Cliff Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Manna Dey) haven’t you heard of Led Zeppelin, Kishore Kumar, Hendrix”

Eavesdropping parents’ conversation:
“.......children are not responsible any more.......”
“.....how to get admission unless they get good marks....”
“...do you know that the Chopras went to Paris for a holiday.....”

Nothing’s really changed. Somehow the adults manage to screw things up all the time and expect that
the kids should stop being kids but resemble Socrates at age 12
disregard curiousity about life, themselves, adolescence etc
adapt to a different world with better technology, better life (isn’t that what we all slave for...so the kids can have more fun growing up)

So I’m not too worried. There’s one thing we tend forget about the children. They alway adapt and figure a way out. They somehow manage. We did too.

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