I was in a discussion with someone last week on the topic “how kids have changed.”
It’s not the first time I’ve had the conversation.
The discussion typically leads to things like cell phones and social media and all the things that take up children’s time these days.
I know my 15-year-old has her telephone pretty much attached to her. I think the big thing for her age group right now is Snapchat.
I’ve never “Snapchatted,” but I do utilize things like Facebook and Twitter, largely as an extension of the community newspaper’s complete coverage of this community.
As an example, a few weeks back we posted photos immediately on the newspaper’s Facebook page after a portion of the wall collapsed at First United Methodist Church in Holly Springs. It reached 12,820 people.
On August 3, we posted a photo of Khava, the dog of the young man who was found dead at Chewalla Lake. It reached 31,187 people. The dog was later rescued just off I-55 South. And as you saw in last week’s South Reporter, Khava is back with family members and doing well.
It’s true, our children have many distractions and challenges these days.
But as a teenager 40 years ago, I had distractions and challenges, too – just different types.
Bottom line, my mother kept me focused. She kept me totally in touch with what’s most important in life. And if I would have had a cell phone and social media in those days, I think she would still have raised a good son.
Last week, after the long discussion on the topic “how kids have changed,” I read this quote from Frank Martin. He is the head men’s basketball coach at the University of South Alabama.
“You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When I hear grown people say that kids have changed. Kids don’t know anything about anything. We’ve changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly about. We’re the ones who have changed.”
If you’ve ever watched Frank Martin coach, it can be sort of scary. He looks mean, scowling and shouting from courtside.
Some have asked this question about him – motivator or maniac?
I read one writer’s column, saying Coach Martin has it backwards on “today’s kids.”
“This narrative is utterly fictitious,” wrote Dave Zirin of The Nation. “Far from being bubble wrapped, a typical young person today has to be smarter and tougher than their parents ever were. The challenges faced by ‘today’s kids’ would have been incomprehensible for many of my generation – cyberbullying, standardized-test regimens, metal detectors, overcrowded classrooms and lockdown drills in case of lone gunmen or terror attacks.”
Maybe it’s a combination - kids have changed and the parents, too.
I do know this – kids in the ’70s (like myself) and kids in 2017 need direction. They need guidance, and they’re going to get it from someone.
And that’s where good parenting typically wins out.