I would not want to be a teenager today. I feel for them. My childhood was dysfunctional but somehow stable too. My mum was home for us. My dad worked hard for us. We had a community in our street and as a result, an extended family.
We were as likely to cop a smack from Aunty Maureen (next door neighbour) as we were our mum, and same can be said for her kids. We would hang out in each other’s houses or down at the park. Together. From dawn to dusk.
There was no internet. There were no mobile phones. Everything we knew we learned at home, or at school, from a limited TV schedule, books, or each other.
We were encouraged to think outside of the box and create our own entertainment, and we did. We created. We inspired. We collaborated. We supported.
Bullying wasn’t long term; squabbles were frequent. But our parents made us sort it out ourselves and so we did. Retrospectively, it was a simple life.
Our parents were alcoholics, abusers, gamblers; supporting each other and providing for all of us. We became resilient adults, striving for more, desiring to create a better world. We are the dreamers, the mystics and the poets. And we are damaged. But mostly happy.
Kids today. I shake my head at the world we have given them. Technology is raising them. They are disconnected from anything real yet hungering for it, and ultimately just want to be seen, acknowledged, loved.
They are the bravest generation because they keep going. Often alone and often scared. Not sure how to find answers even though they are fluent in Google. And social media. Often alone and often scared. The bravest souls.
Eating disorders. Self harm. Promiscuous behaviour. Increased depression and anxiety.
What are we doing to them?
They crave connection and love. We give them the most recent technology and permission to be out all night.
They grow and survive in spite of us.
My hat is off as I salute you. A brave generation.
We have a lot to answer for, my generation. I am sure they would prefer hugs and validation over iPhones and Facebook.
It’s time we listened to them. It’s time we connected with them.