Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Cool

We all look back on our youth and can recount warm and fuzzy memories. For me, I can remember things as simple as waking up early on a Saturday morning, grabbing my Lego building blocks, and planting myself in front of the TV. I’d spend all day watching cartoons, while creating all sorts of things with my Lego blocks.

Childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence, a time to make mistakes, and a time to just do nothing but play.

Kids these days spend far too much time worrying about being cool, hip or trendy, to really just be kids.

When I was a kid, a faded t-shirt, blue jeans and an old beat-up gym bag was my style. It wasn’t much of a style, but I was just being a kid.

These days, I see kids getting on and off the bus dressed in expensive designer labels, sporting IPods, Blackberries, cell phones, and other high-end items. These kids make it their whole point to show off their high-end gear. They blast their music as they pass by, or worse, while you’re stuck sitting in the same subway car on your way downtown.

Kids are so caught up in being cool, they actually are being far from it. Instead, often they annoy and alienate people not by being cool, but by being loud, obnoxious, and spoiled.

Granted, when I was a kid, cell IPods, BlackBerries and cell phones didn’t exist. But there were lots of expensive things out there when I was young, and I never had those things.

I never wore expensive designer labels to school, I didn’t have my real teeth taken out, and replaced with gold teeth, and I always respected those around me. I’d never blast music, put my feet up on other seats in the bus, and I’d even give up my seat for a senior or disabled person.

These days, parents give their kids the resources to go out and have all the cool toys, but in so doing, they neglect a very basic principal of good parenting. They don’t teach their kids to respect others.

Actually, I wonder if perhaps this is a societal problem, where parents – and other adults – don’t care about others enough to afford them the basic humanity with which they themselves want to be offered. Maybe that’s why parents don’t teach their kids manners and respect?

Regardless of where the problem lies, the problem is growing. Just today, a 16-year-old child robbed a bank. He was arrested and taken into custody by the police, but he was only 16!

When I was 16, I was begging and pleading with my parents to let me take driving lessons (and then later, begging and pleading to be allowed to take the car out).

This 16-year-old child actually went into a major financial institution’s branch, and demanded $150,000 in cash!

Driving lessons must have gone up in price – but not that much! Somewhere out there, this kid’s parents are sitting there wondering where they went wrong. Or far worse, and possibly more likely to be the case, the kid’s parent’s just don’t give a damn. And people wonder why society isn’t what it used to be?

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