It's Only My Opinion

Things I want to tell my kids that won't fit on Twitter

Eighteen is not the same

There is a picture on my computer desktop. It’s been there all day. It’s not supposed to be there. It is supposed to be there for 20 seconds and then vanish- to be replaced by another picture.  But it hasn’t gone away. The picture is of me and my parents. I am flanked on the right by my dad and my mom on the left. We are happy and smiling. We are dressed up.  It is a picture that was taken when my parents took me to Sweden for my high school graduation trip. I am 18 years old.

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Dad, me and Mom in Sweden, 1982

My son is graduating this month. He is 18 years old. He is as old today as I am in this picture.  He is the same age,but not nearly as prepared for what the world will hand him as I was. In my opinion, a lot of kids his age aren’t prepared. I am going to sound like my mom right now and I can’t believe it but I am going to say it anyway. Thirty years ago 18 year old kids were more responsible. They were more mature. Our communication skills were more defined. How do you really learn to communicate and connect with others today when your mode of  “communication”is texting in 70 characters? Or typing out life events in a sentence or two? What happened to eye contact and firm handshakes and listening? We could barely do a decent job of  listening back then. Do you really think kids are going to be better at it today? Please don’t think I dislike technology. I work for an online marketing firm for goodness sake. I know how important the internet and technology and social media is to small and large businesses today. That’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about people skills.

That is my fear (besides going to jail and losing one of my kids) that my children will not know how to communicate as well as they could with others. That they will go through life not being able to explain and excite and inspire and enthuse and share as well as they could with someone else in a meaningful way. Heck, when they want my attention at home, they call me on their cell phones.  Sometimes they text me.

I look at that picture with my parents when I was 18 and there is a little sadness in my heart.  In my opinion, for all the advances we’ve made in all areas of life in the world, in some ways- we’ve gone 3 giant steps backward. Eighteen is not the same.

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2 thoughts on “Eighteen is not the same

  1. Thank you for this brave, somewhat contrary to popular culture post. You delineate something that Tom Brokaw, in his commencement speech at Arizona State University summed up as such: “Some advice from my generation? A Facebook post, a tweet will never replace the thrill of the first time someone whispers ‘I love you’ in your ear, or your first kiss…. The revolution in Tienamen Square was not fought on the internet.”

    Your tenets will be well-shared with my children. And not via a “share” button.

  2. I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Check it out at
    http://my4daughters.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/the-versatile-blogger-award/

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