I grew up before people cared about kids.......
What a terrible thing to say, Stu! We have always cared about our kids! You'd say that, & you would be dead wrong...but you'd have to be from my generation (or before) to understand that. I'm from that "gap generation" born between '77 and '85 (1979, to be exact). A childhood friend sent me an article about it the other day that was excellent. Apparently there's even a name for us.
They call us Xennials.
I'm not sure I like that term. Another name for us is "The Star Wars Generation". I like that one a whole hell of a lot better. It's spot-on, note-perfect. After all, no one in our generation was immune to global power of Star Wars. No one.
This article has some interesting bullet points that I cannot argue with, especially in summary. The two that rang particularly true were that Xennials experienced an analogue childhood and a digital adulthood & Xennials possess both Gen X cynicism and Millennial optimism and drive.
You can't say they didn't hit the nail on the head with that one. I've had to learn all of this technology as an adult. It's frustrating. My friggin' kid fixes my phone all the time while I sit here and say old, crotchety things like "I remember when there were no cell phones!" Then I feel like a clichéd asshole for saying, thereby demonstrating that Gen X / Millennial split.
Do you know what that article was missing, though? Those of you who paid attention to the title of this little rant and are "Xennials" surely will......
It doesn't talk at all about the fact that our parents didn't hold our fucking hands through every little activity of our lives. Our parents would see us getting ready to hurt ourselves and just LET IT HAPPEN!! Then they'd chuckle a little as they sprayed that god-awful Bactine shit on our horroshow of an injury and say "I bet you won't try that again!" At the time, we couldn't comprehend why they were happy about this. Were they just sadistic? Did they enjoy our pain? Did they secretly hate us?
The answer is no. Parents hurt along with their children just as much in 1985 as they do now. When they busted your ass (with a belt, by God!) and said "This'll hurt me more than it will hurt you" they meant it. It's true. The difference is that they understood three critical things about growing up. I'm going to hit you with these truths. Are you ready? Here goes:
- The lessons learned painfully or embarrassingly are the ones that truly stick.
- Children have to learn how to stand on their own two feet without a safety net.
- Helicopter parenting produces some pussy-ass adults.
Did our parents learn this by reading it? Did it catch on as a hashtag? Did somebody march and protest for it? Nope. They learned by experience. God knows it's how I learned it.
My parents split up when I was 8. My Mom had some issues to work through, and my Dad didn't exactly do a world-class job of keeping up with us. Still, they both continued to parent and stay fairly engaged. They put their heads together on the big shit, ya' know? However, they let my brother and I go out there and fend for ourselves and learn those lessons. The important part of that statement is that they still parented. They didn't check out!
I see too many parents nowadays who check in digitally but are checked out emotionally. They can't tell you shit about their kids! Talk to them for 5 minutes and you'll realize that they don't know any pertinent info about the human that they created. But, but.......wait until their kids get a bad grade or start some shit and they'll be up at the school yelling at the teacher! That shit blows my mind! When I was a kid, my parents believed literally every adult on the planet before they believed me. Tell me I'm wrong, Xennials!!
The point is that there is such a thing as caring too much. I have one daughter, and she is truly "Daddy's Little Girl" and my "Mini-Me". I want the best for her, and it is the hardest thing in the world to resist jumping in and saving her all the time. I don't ever want to see her cry, but sometimes you have to. I'll leave you with this anecdote:
A week or two ago we took Gracie out to get her hair cut. She wanted to go back to having bangs. My wife and I conferred in private and KNEW that she wouldn't like it after 5 minutes. Did we stop her from doing it? Hell no. We encouraged it. You probably know how this story ends, don't you?
She looks pretty goofy, and we think it's hilarious. She will learn that lesson the hard way.