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September 09, 2009

Let Me Entertain You

When my children were growing up, we all had responsibilities. Each child could make his or her own bed. I didn't go along behind them to straighten the bedding. It was their bed and it was their decision to either make it the best they could or not. It wasn't something to set them up for judgment. In their eyes their finished bed making was beautiful.

Because they participated in household chores, they were pretty busy little people. They did have play time and friends over sometimes. But they had each other so they always had someone to play a game with or talk to or trade chores with.

How did those children grow into parents who think someone should be entertaining their children at all times? I see my grandchildren and children of their generation as missing out on using their imaginations. They either have an electronic game or a computer in front of them or they expect someone to be providing amusement for them. Being on their own is "boring", and heaven knows, parents don't want their children unhappy. So someone needs to be paying attention to them every waking minute.

I am in a strange position these days. I am at an age that I remember how it was when I was a child, left to my own devices to imagine and play act and dance and sing and dress and undress the various cats in the house and be outside with nature and watch ants and learn how to take care of plants and pretend as much as my mind could experience. When adults were talking we were not to interrupt unless the house was on fire. Children "were seen and not heard". I didn't feel rejected or stifled; on the contrary, I was able to look within and invent my own games and use my imagination. Then I became a mother and I was absolutely nuts about my kids. I thought they were the cutest, smartest, most enjoyable kids ever born. They were busy, and in some ways productive, and always learning how to interact socially with other children. How to think of other people, not just themselves. Then my little darlings grew up and they and their friends who have children seem to think the same way about children. Someone has to be playing with the little ones, on hand to listen to every little thing they have to say, and allow them to interrupt adults over and over thus reinforcing that the children are automatically at the top of the priority pile in life.

Some things have changed so drastically from when I was a child to today's training of children that it looks like another planet. There are good things about each of the three generations worth of parenting. Maybe in the next generations the best teachings and thoughts on parenting can be combined. Because right now it is a very scary future when I think about the little people today (who can only think of themselves) growing to adulthood to take a place in society.

16 comments:

Big Dave T said...

It is scary to wonder what coddling a generation of kids will do for the future. Personally, it's scary to think of someone trying to play dress-up with cats too. The cats I knew wouldn't tolerate something like that. There might not be blood, but there would be claws.

One of my pet peeves are mothers who will cut off the adult they're talking to in order to respond to their child who is interrupting.

Shadow said...

every generation does have it's 'own' way of doing things. lets hope the next one learns and adds to the quality thereof...

Spencer L Casey said...

Our children are happy with a cardboard box (my son "found" one on his way home from school last week) and a butter knife to cut windows and doors.

Certainly they have technology in their lives. But with a few simple limits it doesn't take over their lives.

So as far as a generation of entertain-me's, it's definitely not the whole generation.

Take heart.

SLC

cinner said...

You know this has really become a problem in our society, I grew up on a farm where bored was not tolerated, If we could not find something to do there would be a list of chores. makes sense to me, I worked in retail, please thankyou, hellos and goodbyes, now I am in shock if I get any of that. When these little darlings become older, will they think of anything but themselves,,,a crazy world we live in!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am not sure how they will survive or what kind of parents they will be. I also was supposed to be seen and not heard..it was really hard for me..I was so curious..I always thought it sucked to be silent..but I did have an imagination..and could entertain myself for hours..Oh Ya, bored..got you extra chores:)

Margie said...

Excellent post and your last paragraph was spot on!
Thank you for sharing this wise & insightful post!

Margie:)

otin said...

My Brother said this to me and I feel that it is true: "When we were kids, we grew up in an adult oriented world and we had to learn to fit into the adults plans and schedules. Now everything is geared for the child and the adult has to manipulate their time to accommodate organized leagues and programs. We had a baseball, a bat, 3 garbage can lids for bases and a handful of friends"!

Brian Miller said...

this scares me as well at times. i must say there seems to be no lack of imagination it is just fueled differently. what concerns me more is the attitude that it is "all about me." my hope is that as they grow maturity takes hold.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I'm with you. Maybe that's why they call today's younger generation the "ME GENERATION" cuz it's ALL about them. Life will be hard when they grow up and have to make it on their own.
xo

Berni said...

I am with you on this one. I am also sick and tired of 'Back to School' as if it is a big deal, didn't we all have to go back to school and we all dealt with it. But the thing that I have found most offensive lately is the Staples advertisement, don't know if you get it but they sing the Christmas song "the most wonderful time of the year" with the slant being that parents can't wait to get their children out of their hair. That can't be sending a good message to children. Even though I totally believe that children should not be raised as if they are the centre of the universe they should feel secure in their parents feelings for them.

Shadowthorne said...

Be afraid, be very afraid of the little people. :)

I am a teacher, I know how it feels.

Ronda Laveen said...

This post points out how far the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. The sense of entitlement that comes with these children and young adults often leaves me dumbfounded. I, too, hope the extremes can be blended in the future generations.

A Free Man said...

I've been thinking about a smiliar thing lately, that we wrap our kids in cotton wool and that may not be a good thing. When I was a kid, we basically ran loose all over the neighborhood. Our parents didn't worry a bit. These days, everyone is convinced that there's a pedophile around every corner. There's not. But that kind of freedom as a kid is a thing of the past.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I couldn't agree more! I worry about my grandchildren. First of all, the amount of toys that parents buy the kids is out of control. And the scheduling, their little lives are scheduled to the hilt. Remember how it used to be, going across the street, knocking on the door and asking if the neighbor kid could play. No agenda, just fun. Sigh.

Ann's Rants said...

You set a very good example, and one I struggle to set with my own kids.

I had a similar initial reaction on 9/11 (post above). My coworker told me one tower had collapsed and I convinced her that surely she had misunderstood. Had she ever seen the world trade center? Impossible.

If only.

4evernite said...

How true this is! Children (because of their parents) seem to have no respect for others or for things in general. It's a shame really and yes, a bit scary. I'm mean, after all, they are the future.