‘Kids these days are so brash, we were never like this when we were growing up,’ is a refrain that I constantly heard from adults around me while growing up. Not that the refrain has stopped now, it’s just that I myself have joined the ranks of the moaners, something I would never have thought was possible in my harassed childhood years.
Who on earth would want to be one of those ‘holier than thou’ adults with their constant stock of stories of what perfect children they had been, how terrifying the adults of their childhood days were (as opposed to the liberal adults they themselves were being), what deprived childhoods they had had in comparison with us and yet never rebelled or complained etc, etc. Twenty years ago, I would never have thought I would be one of these stuffed shirts, they simply couldn’t seem to see anything good in the budding next generation.
I was hardly a teenager myself however before I started noticing what brats all the single digit aged kids around me were. They all seemed to have longer tongues, bigger ears and sharper eyes (why does the Red Riding Hood wolf come to mind) than my own peers at that age. It’s probably partly the fault of the parents who spoil their children but nevertheless I notice a trend these days in which children simply are not so innocent anymore. Most of the joy of children is in their very innocence but it is a trait that I find so rare among them that I find myself pleasantly surprised whenever I come across such a child.
Mostly, it has to do with a growing level of intelligence. I was reading up on IQ recently and came across the fact that apparently there is a 10% increase in intelligence with each successive generation. They certainly seem to grow up much faster and know a lot more than we ever did at their ages. I remember our teachers condemning us as too fast because some of us who had barely entered our teens had started getting boy/girl crazy. One day, my sister came home intensely irritated because she had come across an apparent love scene between two primary school kids, still in their uniforms, straight after school. Kids these days are maturing too fast, the next batch will probably start romancing straight from their cots,’ she grumbled. I couldn’t help laughing but I was also slightly disturbed. Remembering my parents going on and on about everything about our generation being awful when compared to theirs, especially our movies, music, fashion sense etc, I couldn’t help cringing to think that I might one day behave in a similar fashion with my kids.
I already don’t like some of the newest music, literature, movies that cater to the teens who have come after me. I have a nasty suspicion that at this rate, I will absolutely hate anything my own kids will like by the time they hit their teens, it seems to be a vicious cycle that one just can’t get out of. I once read of a father who had written a despairing letter to a close friend about his son. It went something like this; ‘He spends hours in front of the mirror trying various ridiculous hairstyles and absurd styles of clothes.
He hasn’t any sense in his head, all he can think of is girls, girls and more girls. His taste in books, theater and music are appalling, he is such a philistine. I quite despair of him…. ,’ etc, etc. Apparently this was a real letter, written by a Greek father some thousands of years ago. Oh, well then….! My parents never admit that their own parents were ever anything less than absolutely satisfied with them. I wonder if I will admit to my own kids that I had problems with my senior generation?