Wednesday, November 12, 2008

dazed and confused

You can sum up all the synonyms associated with the two words in the title of this blog in one word: Kids.

I remember being a kid. I remember being a teenager. I remember my 20's, my 30's, and my 40's. I started working when I was 13. My first job was with a semi washing company. They had a steam jenny in a van that heated and pressurized the water. We sprayed the trucks off. My very first real paycheck, I went right out and bought me a wallet. My check was so large, once I bought the wallet, I had no money to put in it. I only worked on Saturdays.

I started as a freshman at the University of Kentucky when I was 17 years old. I got a job with the Tobacco & Health Research Institute as a lab assistant. I ran a machine that 'smoked' 30 cigarettes at a time. It collected the tar in a trap made to simulate the way a lung gathers it. It was a cool job.

I dropped out of college after a year and started working in the electrical union as an apprentice. That was in 1977 and I have worked pretty steady since then. I did my best to pay my bills and meet my obligations. I got married, had kids, and grew up. I have 4 sisters and 1 brother. We weren't poor but we weren't rich either. Dad worked as an electrician and pastored a church.

Nowadays, kids seem to have all different or no priorities at all. To borrow an accounting system from Octamom, 5 of 7's fiance' was in on leave from the Army. While TJ was sitting in the ER with Kyle, I took him to the airport to catch his flight back to base. They waited until about an hour from his flight time to show up at the house for a ride. The airport is 40 miles away. Needless to say, he missed his flight. We were on our way back home when we found out. He talked with the airlines and they gave him a flight at 7 the next morning. He stayed at the airport and slept through the calling of his flight. He caught a ride back to our town.
His mom calls us telling us the base commander had called her claiming he was AWOL. We checked and, sure enough, he was still at 5 of 7's house. He claims that his base commander knew and had arranged for him to catch a flight the next morning at 6. His dad was coming on his way from work (third shift) to pick him up and take him to the airport.

At 11 am, they call us. Apparently the 6 AM flight was moved to 1 PM. They didn't have a ride to the airport. We rushed down and got them and got him to the airport. There was thanks for the ride but no worry about schedule or hurry to make the flight. there was also no offer to pay for gas.

What confuses me is: Where did we lose the idea that things in life cost something. Kids seem to think everything is supposed to be handed to them on a platter with no 'thank you' or consideration necessary?

I taught high school kids for 4 years. The same attitude is prevalent in most kids of this generation. Kids in my classes drove new mustangs, BMW's, big new Dodge trucks. All gifts from a parent or both. If you ask them to do something in class that is not part of their plan, they act as though you kicked their dog. Tasks and assignments are done half way, just enough to get the lowest passing grade.

I told my students: If you do mediocre work in my class you will get a "D" or maybe a "C". If you give half effort out in the real world, your job goes away, your car goes away, your apartment goes away, and your girl/boy friend goes away.

Fiance' seemed so nonchalant about being AWOL. It was as if it was no big deal. I can't remember, but it seems like I recall that if you are AWOL during war time, you are classified a deserter. Oh well, no big deal.
I am dazed and confused


Gill said...

OMG have you been looking into most homes? You hit the nail on the head here.
I have to say i am strict strict strict with my 3 cherubs!
One just lost her school tie. Why? Because she didn't put it away properly..she is now buying a new one with HER own money! We always write thankyou cards, we always offer to pay for gas etc and if they stay at a friends house they MUST buy the parent chocolates / flowers to say thankyou. Why? Well its simple good manners. And if i do their chores because they have not..well they have to pay me :) Aren't i mean! But i see everyday where you are coming from..just making sure mine don't end up like that. Never take people for granted, ever!
Wonderful post.You hit the nail on the head. Of course he may want picking up from the arport one day..I am sure you will be busy perhaps!

Debbie said...

Maybe you could send this out to every home in America? We have lost all accountability - with our kids, our leaders, and our businesses - in this country. Who are the role models? Parents bail their kids out, the government bails everybody else out. It worries me terribly.