Monday, November 20, 2006

Miserable Youth

Young people in developed countries unhappy, survey says.

Their problem, to me, is not a lack of happiness but instead an excess of boredom. Kids today, in the developed world, have no clue what it means to work for something. Life is easy. Options abound. But with all these excessive toys and thrills, comes a lack of purpose. When all you do is play on the internet,talk on your cell phone, and stand in line for the latest version of Playstation, it is easy to lose any sense of satisfaction that comes through completing a struggle. After a while, the digital thrills get boring. And the spoiled spawn sit around and do nothing. Growing so lazy they lack the will, or even the knowledge, to do something different. Give many suburban kids today a lawn-mower, and they wont know how to use it, or even figure it out. And I'm not talking about the old pull-start variety,either.
In short, I guess you can say they have lapsed into a state of inertia. I see it all around me. Now that everything is done for them, including the 'fun' which is delevered to them via the digital age, they lack the knowledge to create their own thrills.

I think back to not that long ago... to my dad's youth. Not unlike many old world lifestyles, happiness was found daily in the simple pleasures. Anytime you finished the plowing, you had a sense of accomplishment because now that it was done, you could do something else. There was a lot to do, and get done, daily. Life was a series of accomplished chores, and in themselves, sucesses.

Reasons for unhappiness across the developed world included a lack of optimism, concern over jobs and pressure to succeed.

This may be.
But I want to suggest the concern over jobs has more to with lack of creativity, or willingness to do some jobs that dont pay six figures.
We need to redefine success.
And that can only be done through struggles.
Kids today will lack one because they wont have to do the other.

These are my thoughts.
What are yours?


Mercy Now said...

One reason is the Baby Boomer parents since both work, they neglect the child but instead substitute it w/ toys.

One exapmle is a friend who was house sitting and babysitting a kid since the parents were away on vacation but it was during the school year so the kid couldn't go. Anyway, the 1 hour I was there, the kid played like 5 diff toys then did 5 diff other things and told us that's what he does when he's bored. Ten diff things w/in the hour, I remember I was happy with playing one or two toys for hours when I was little.

If you give them everything, why should they work for anything? And parents wonder why their kids are not motivated.

Gino said...

and remember, after your one or two toys in an hour was done, you went outside and climbed a tree,built a fort, or shot small birds with a slingshot.

Kal Jones said...

[old man]

Back in my day, we had sticks to play with! And we were happy, gobdurnnet!

[/old man]

I think you're on to something.

We overschedule our kids. We load them up with karate, soccer, etc etc, and during the school year pound them with hours of homework, so when they hit an unscheduled hour they don't know what to do with themselves.

Being (comparatively) left alone by my parents did wonders for my imagination...

Gino said...

i was left to myself,too.
it wasnt always a good thing, but damn, i was never bored.

you think maybe we sanitize the world too much?
Dad gave me a pellet gun when i was seven, said "dont be stupid" and turned his back... totally.

nowadays, he would be charged with child endangerment. but he was no different than anybody else's dad who gave them pellet guns, too.
and we lived in the city, not the country.

Brian said...

Meh. Adolecents have always been miserable. It's just that nowadays we have such a youth-oriented culture that someone cares.

I'm skeptical of comparisons among countires. Too arbitrary and too many variables. You can manipulate the questions and the countries you look at to get whatever result you want. (See also: the effect of gun laws on crime.)

Gino said...

brian: if we ignored all the studies, then what would have to talk about?