- Family and Parenting
Why Not Wait Until The Last Minute?
Maybe from the title you can sense some sarcasm. Over the past several years it seems to me that the youth of today just are not proactive about getting things done. By youth, I mean generally teenaged to around the age of twenty-five. I don’t know if it is because I am getting older or they just have no drive. When I was younger, you knew when your appointments were and when assignments were due; today it is a different story.
My thoughts on today’s youth comes from observing my youngest brother (18+ years my Jr.) and some of his friends. They also stem from conversations I have had with a co-worker and her children right around the same age. With regards to my brother, he has had the luxury of three brothers to help him stay on task whether we asked him if he completed a task yet or gave him a subtle reminder. The reason why we would do this is because my brother’s junior year of high school our mother passed away and our father was not positive of everything that needed to be done for my brother to get into college no less pay for it. All of us being college graduates and having experienced many different challenges college life has to offer, we wanted to be sure he was prepared for the next few years of his life. However, almost every time we would question him about whether he filled out paperwork or made an appointment to see his counselor, he would have a dumbfounded look on his face or shake his head no while saying under his breath “Get off my case.”
Another instance my brother and some of his classmates had was a group project together. They were given the assignment a month in advance. They decided to work on it less than a week before it was due. Needless to say the grade was not exactly the best grade they could achieve. He realized had they started earlier, they could have put more effort into the project and received a better grade.
My co-worker has twin daughters about the same age as my brother and one more daughter that is a couple of years younger. I’ve overheard some of her conversations and talked to her about her daughters to see if they had the same carefree attitude. She confirmed my suspicions by being constantly “in their face” about getting stuff done. She would write notes, followed by phone calls, and emails. Even when the twins went away to school, she would call them every day to make sure they had all homework turned in and all studying was being done. She knew their class scheduled and exam schedules inside out and backwards. This may be a bit overprotective and to an extreme point where the youngsters will never learn any life skills on their own.
At one point, when my brother started to shut down or seem as if he were ignoring me and my other brothers, I suggested we let him “learn on his own.” This particular incident we were asking if he had prepared his financial aid paperwork for school, which had a priority date to be guaranteed consideration. After he missed the deadline, I helped him (because he asked). I asked him if he understood the ramifications of not getting that in on time. I’m confident that after our conversation, he did. He did not miss another financial aid priority date for the remainder of his college career. Coincidentally, he was still able to qualify for financial aid even though he missed the priority date.
When I was a young whippersnapper, my mom or dad would leave a note or a list of chores to get done. Besides getting my homework done, I needed to get that list completed before I could go play or hang-out at a friend’s house. The consequences leaving before finishing were well known. Kids of today seem unstressed and do not have that sense of urgency to get anything done. We as adults need to stop coddling them.
I would never believe my parents to be mean or abusive. Yes, I received spankings, restrictions, and other punishments as a child; I probably deserved most of them. Being sent to my room for not doing some chore was the result of my choice. I knew my options and I made the choice. Today, the youth do not have the aftereffect of making that choice. I think one of the reasons this happens is because the parent/guardian does not enforce the punishments for making the wrong choice. Another reason may be fear the government will interfere with how a parent/guardian raises their child because they may use mild corporal punishment or other punishment that may not be deemed as “lawful.” I have to think that I turned out OK as a human being. I have morals, virtues and I generally have an honor code I follow. I just do not know if you can teach that kind of stuff.