As I drove along the highway with my eleven year old daughter the sites passed us by like any other day until suddenly she said, “kids at my school are so weird and they act really bad a lot of the time.” I asked, “what do you mean?” “I mean,” she replied, “that the majority of kids cuss and say the ‘f’ word a lot! They think it’s so cool!” I thought, “are you kidding me?” I mean, these are elementary school kids! “Oh yeah,” says my daughter, “and my friend is wearing really ‘S’ clothes all the time and it really bugs me.” “What does ‘S’ mean?”, I asked. After playing a short word game with my daughter, I came to the conclusion that ‘S’ stood for sexy. When I found out the kind of outfits her friend was wearing I was blown away. Sixth grade! “Kids these days are so much older,” I thought.
On another drive, with another child of mine, (this time with my fifteen year old son) out of the blue I asked if he had seen a certain kid that he really enjoyed spending time with. “What is he up to these days?”, I asked. “He’s smoking a lot of weed and thinking it’s so cool,” was my son’s reply. I said, “what?” “There are a lot of kids who are selling weed and a lot of them smoke it too or they brag about how drunk they got at such and such a time or place”. These are ninth graders. I mean, I’ve been around the block a few times and was no saint myself but ninth grade? Again, I thought, “kids these days are so much older.”
It just seems kids these days are so much older. Is it the technology? Is it the array of entertainment at the movies? On the internet? How about all the “great” choices on TV these days? Remember the days when you mustered up the courage to ask a girl out? Now you can just text and ask. If you get turned down it’s much easier to accept the rejection. You’re not stuck there in that awkward moment staring at each other! I remember when I was in ninth grade and my best friend and I found a ‘Playboy’ magazine and we thought we had died and gone to heaven! Kids now have access to any number of atrocious websites that make ‘Playboy’ look like Reader’s Digest! Now kids have this thing called “sexting” where they text intimate and highly sexual things to each other, kind of like reading a story in ‘Penthouse Forum’. If my friends and I ever got a hold of something like that way back when, one of us would carry it in his pocket until it literally disintegrated while trying to unfold it to share with the next “luckiest” kid in the world!
Maybe I’m just old but kids are growing up in a new era, one of high technology, way more potent drugs than I ever experimented with and an array of information available via the good old web. Ask a kid what ‘Britannica’ means to them and you may get a response such as ‘porn star’, ‘new drug’ or how about ‘an island off the coast of England where the British people live’, then the kid walks away with his pants halfway down, his hat on sideways, and things in his earlobes that could be mistaken for hockey pucks. I think ‘my generation at least had a chance’ as my cell phone chimes, letting me know my fifteen year old won’t be home for dinner. He’s at a friend’s house messing around. They are probably just sitting around listening to that wholesome rap noise they like.
My kids are all wonderful and I wouldn’t change anything about them, yet I can’t help but wonder what it would be like growing up in this day and age. I have all the faith in the world that as adolescents they will make the best of the adult-like experience that they are living.
I obviously have strayed from my normal ‘medical topic’ in Sophie’s blog. Maybe some other parent out there will read this and think “yep, I understand”. Or maybe my kids will read this and realize that I feel for them, care enough about them to let them know that I know what they are around, what they see, hear and are pressured to do or not to do. Some things never change, and kids these days need more hope, love and understanding than ever before I believe. They need parents that guide, counsel, teach and most importantly who aren’t afraid to say, “I love you no matter what.”
Brett Davis (Sophia’s Dad)