Sunday, September 08, 2013

Kids These Days

If you're of a mind to lament the comparative worthlessness of kids these days, there's one detail about your observation that I'm certain you're overlooking: Kids don't make themselves.

Children have almost no autonomy. They are what we make them, almost exclusively. We have the greatest effect on our own kids, but we have some effect, at least collectively, on all of them. That may sound weird to people who know me. I don't believe in "collective guilt." But people who do believe in collective guilt are guilty as hell when they say, kids these days. The index finger points out two malefactors, generally.

Kids these days are probably tired of hearing that they grew up in the world others made for them, but they're somehow doing it wrong. I'm not young anymore, but more than once I've suffered an affront that goes something like this: You screwed up; you cooperated. That'll teach you!

Well, I don't cooperate all that much anymore. I'll tell old people to get off my lawn, mostly, but not the young people. I like energy and the promise of better things to come. I will continue to do so until I get a bed with a lid.

I like my own kids, and every once in a while I indulge my wife and allow myself a bit of pride about their energy, or their bearing, or their good natures. I would expect to be judged harshly if they had turned out like... kids these days.

My reason for refusing to sanction the bylaw made by the borough council of Stoke Newington was that I have received no evidence that the dangers arising from roller-skating by boys and girls are so much greater than the ordinary dangers of traffic in the streets, particularly motor traffic, that the practice ought to be prohibited by by-law.  Such a by-law would create a new offence punishable by the criminal law...would lead to the imposition of fines, and possibly to the detention and imprisonment of children and young persons for indulging in a form of amusement which would be legal on one side of the road and illegal on the other. I am very reluctant to increase the number of occasions when the children of the poorer classes may be brought into the police-court and rendered liable to imprisonment".   -Winston Churchill


Anonymous said...

Here's how they do it in my hometown:
Funny thing is I probably took some of their mothers up that road at one point for an entirely different reason.
Never trust anyone who's never tried anything hard enough for long enough to get good at it.

julie said...

That looks fun. Makes me want to get a long board.


Girls are so girly. Even on skateboards, they have to dance in sync. That's not an indictment, by the way - I can picture my adorable teenage nieces doing exactly the same thing.

Sam L. said...

Bed with a lid. A good phrase, with I may remember to use somewhere.

Sam L. said...

And I see they are wearing protective gear.

Like the song, too.

RonF said...

I teach kids how to use knives, fire and guns. I'm not going to worry about skateboards.