I am a chronic eavesdropper. I admit it. I love having my summers off and all that comes with them, such as long lunches. Since I have been a lady who lunches, I am guilty of eavesdropping on the conversations around me during said lunches. The one comment that annoys me the most is something along the lines of “kids these days…” and what is most annoying about that type of comment is that is it usually uttered by those who are not often exposed to teenagers.
Having been a teacher for over 20 years, I can tell you a thing or two about teenagers today. The vast majority of them are smart, funny, kind, interesting, creative, talented…you get the idea. However, these adults who are not around teenagers who are not their own on a daily basis base their generalization to isolated incidents where one of those good kids is having a not so good moment.
I will contend that it’s the adults that need some work. Let me give you a few examples I have witnessed first hand in the past few weeks.
1. Parenting by iPhone. I was seated in a restaurant near a family: a mom, a dad and two teenage boys. Once the meal was ordered, all four proceeded to pick up their iPhones and tune out. There was no conversation, no checking in with each other. The father even took a business call at the table, without excusing himself for some privacy. Do these parents even know what apps the kids were using or what games they were playing? I am sure that in the near future some adult will judge these kids on their constant phone usage, but I am, also, sure that the teens learned this checked out behavior from their parents.
2. Rude is as rude does. Last weekend I attended the wedding of a former student. Once the ceremony begins, a woman gets out of her seat to start taking photos with an iPad. Yes, I said iPad. An iPad was not designed as a primary photo taking device. It’s large and it was very obtrusive. Then this same woman had the nerve to walk in front of the professional photographer hired by the bride and groom themselves to document their special day. It was all I could do to not tell her to sit down.
3. I attended a sporting event as official media. I was there with two other credentialed photographers. One of the fathers, who was standing along a fence and not seated in an official seating area started shouting at us to sit down. Then when I explained we had every right to be there, he said he wasn’t upset but he pointed to a lady who didn’t even have a son on the team and said she couldn’t see. I explained that if he continued with his behavior, the official could have him removed. Why did I even have to explain this to a grown adult?
So next time someone drops one of those “kids today” comments, I hope they are fully prepared for my version of the “adults today” comment. And if you’d like, please comment here too.