Moral Compass And The Next Generation

Seems like an old record. Listening to the older generation telling us how much better or harder or simply how different life was back in the old days. Right? We all hear it. It almost seems like it’s part of growing up being told that life was harder, things were better and so on.

I often shook my head when my parents or my grandparents started talking about the good old days. When I listened to what I labeled “the saga of ancient history” just to stir them up a little bit. You gotta stir a little bit…

I’m not sure if it’s the age or if it’s about being a parent as well now that trigger the same kind of thinking in me now.

Back then I could often hardly believe them. After all everything improved, you know. Cars were invented, phones, fax machines, computers and so on. All those things that make life easier, more efficient. All those things that make your work easier.

Today, I see the good and the bad in all of it too and most probably not even to the extend they see it or have seen for a long time already.

Just take a look at the huge development we witnessed over the last say 40 years. TV’s not only became a normal household goodie, they also turned from black and white to colorful and changed size and shape like a pregnant woman does (just the other way around). Cellphones not only are a normal gadget for business people but a necessity for everyone including kids. They went from bricks you could only make calls with to mini computers which cover everything from making calls (oh yes, I still use mine to call people…), sending emails, taking pictures, shooting movies, watching movies, listening to music, playing games, writing posts, reading books to I don’t know what else. It actually surprises me that they don’t walk the dog for us.

All this development, the so called improvement, does not bring only good along. It’s no secret that we become slaves to our technology. Work is not longer a 9-5 thing, due to being reachable at all time everywhere. You don’t have the time to properly think about what your answer will be, then write the letter and send it off. An answer is often required in no time. Burn out syndrome is as common as a nasty cold and yet still not accepted. But where and how could we find the peace and rest we need to recover properly if we can never really disconnect?

It not only has an influence on us. It does something to our kids too.

Don’t worry, I will not tell you know how bad devices are for our kids. This post is really not about this. I’m guilty of letting our kids use their devices on a regular base and most probably way to often. This post is about the fast pace we all encounter, especially our children.

Moral compass and fast pace don’t mix well. At least I think so. How can you develop empathy, forgiveness, kindness, responsibility, integrity, compassion if there is simply no time to do so? Only look at the difference between our values compared to the values of the next generation. Look how cold some of them behave! I’m talking me being 40somethingish compared to 20 year olds, to teenagers and to all the other kids. There’s a difference. The fast pace we live in puts pressure on our children. And in so many cases it’s pretty obvious how much kids struggle with that kind of pressure.

I feel our kids lack time to develop a sense for justice. I feel like they lack time to develop sensitivity. They lack the time to think twice before they act. In our world of “toughen up and do as you are told” we actually manage to push our kids into pushing empathy aside. Bullying, selfish behavior, lack of values and respect and general misbehaving is not uncommon.

I agree all of it has always been around. But don’t you feel too that there are issues that are created by the fast way we do things nowadays? Everything has to be fast lived. Food, holidays, friendships, relationships. Everything that stood for something when we were kids or when our parents, our grandparents were children. It’s so much about the individual and not as much about the group any longer. And this is for sure something that is created by our generation, although we should know better.

But maybe we are the “inbetweens”. We are the ones that actually realized how much all this technology could be used to our advantage without realizing the damage it can do too. We are the ones that still remember the time you went out with your friends and no mobile devices were carried along. Selfies were done in a photo-booth, messages handed over under the desk in school. Letters were written, feelings expressed in proper words and not by Emoji.

How can we teach our children the right values when we hardly listen to them because we have to update our Facebook status, put another picture on Instagram and look for a new partner on one of the countless dating apps?

How can we teach them all the right values, when we don’t allow them to slow down, planning each and every minute of their day, filling them up with after school activities to a point where we start complaining about how annoying it is to drive them from one point to the next? What about the good old playdates? What about being bored? What about being bored and then let your mind wander, the creativity flow, maybe by only watching clouds in the sky?

Think about how rush makes you feel? Think about how pressure makes you feel. Not a good feeling, right? But you are a grown up. You can kind of explain it all to yourself. Kids don’t have this ability. And still they need an outlet.

Maybe I’m having a typical homeschooling moment here. One of those moments I’m truly happy that we chose this path. I just look around and see children, who go to the best private school behave so badly. Kids from good background, smart and successful parents with the best education ever, private school or public school. I see some of them and can’t stop thinking that there’s something missing. Kids, 7-10 year of age, who are no longer behaving like children but more like adults, rushed into growing up. The standardized tests are only the tip of the iceberg…

I don’t know if this all makes sense to you. I feel this post is a little bit all over the place… I have one of those moments in which there’s so much going on in my head and finding the right way of expressing it seems so difficult. Covering it all without writing a book seems impossible… And I wonder if I can truly express my thoughts to the point where they make sense to you too.

What I feel is that the fast pace we live is not doing us any good. We live life in the fast lane. And our kids are forced to speed through everything as well. It takes away so much from us, things that we will never be able to bring back into our lives, into the lives of our kids.

We can slow the fast pace down. Really listen to our partners, our friends, our families, our children. Listen and be there for them. We can show empathy, look after each other, do things together, build each other up rather than ignoring the struggles. Not later. But now. Not with a device in your hand but with an open ear and an open heart. We can use real words and make an effort other than use little icons or stupid abbreviations. We are still human, after all.

Inspired by the Daily Prompt Daily Post – Generation

24 thoughts on “Moral Compass And The Next Generation

  1. This was a really timely post for me as my son is having serious issues at school, with coping, with pressures, homework, exams and more pressures. Social media doesn’t help and the fast pace of living only contributes to everyone feeling more stressed and frustrated, me included. We all need to take a big step back and look at the big picture. What’s really important. Great thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This seriously addresses the problems created by ICT and social media in families and the society. The problem of kids, parenting and the future, complicated by social media and modern communication technology. Parents have to make time for proper parenting and relating with loved ones. Our children become what we make them. There is a problem of finding time to listen and be there for the ones we love. I think you make great sense here and many people need to pay attention to this.

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  3. You are 100% correct: this is just the tip of the iceberg, and it would certainly take a long-form book to capture it all. My wife and I were (un)fortunate enough to have a very difficult time finding work after my last assignment was up and we relocated back to Georgia. What that time offered us, when we could sweep the stress aside, was a taste of what retirement might be like. Everything slowed down, and suddenly we were able to spend almost all day with our new little girl, watching her grow up and develop more and more each and every day. It’s not a sustainable way to live, since bills don’t care if you are on sabbatical, but for the time being it is a lesson in (cliche, I know) in living life to the fullest. Great post!

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  4. It is interesting, when you said we were the generation between… between letters and text messages… I thought about my parents or even grandparents. I can imagine they felt the same. They had no television in their childhood but we grew up with it, it was normal. And we were already told we are not social anymore because of the television – at least not as social as they were and they felt a huge difference. But for sure technology develops faster and faster and perhaps we are really the generation who witnesses this most!

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  6. Children have to be allowed to be children. I don’t think there is a problem with a kid learning how to entertain themselves. You mentioned that we are the last generation to know what life was like before technology took over. It’s true we are. It also makes us the pivot point. Whether or not the next generation is a good one depends on us. The best way to teach is by example. So why not unplug a few hours every day. No computers, no tv, no cellphones. just spend time with our kids. Talking, exploring a park, playing a board game or volunteering at a soup kitchen.

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  7. We are “the sandwich generation” squeezed between the old and the new in so many ways. Spoke to my college roommate yesterday. Her son will be getting married this summer and I told her I would look for my invitation in the mail. She told me not to as her son and his bride were only issuing e-vites and were limiting distribution to family members. Unexpected downside of that quick/easy/cheap method was that the way they had been sent did not provide for automatic “read” response so one family member would not have known about the impending nuptials if other member had not mentioned it in actual conversation. This can happen when invites are “snail mailed, too” but I would expect it less often!

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