Tuesday, April 27, 2010

T.I.M.E. to Respect Yourself

"Boy, these kids today don't care about nothin' and nobody.  No home trainin' to speak of; they think it's all about them..."

This consensus came from a group of grandmothers at a gathering I attended recently.  Now whose children they were speaking of I do not know, because my angels know better, but the ringleader of the group referenced all kids in her mini rant.  Last I heard, teenagers did teenager-y things, nothing new under the sun.  To listen to her you'd think that everyone under the age of 21 was the devil's spawn, lol.

Times are a lot different now, and we are far removed from "it takes a village." Sure, most people still respect their elders, but I have to admit I too am dismayed at the alarming rate of the 'youngins' outright disrespect of people in authority (parents, teachers, preachers, etc.)  Something is happening with our young people, and it's not all B.E.T's fault.  We have to share some responsibility for this madness too, and no, sending your child to boot camp is not always the answer.  Life is busy, I get that.  I get that you may have to work 2 jobs to make ends meet, believe me I KNOW.

Talk to me.
  Inspire me.
   Motivate me.
     Encourage me.

My teens and I have caught an episode or two of '16.And.Pregnant' ('cause 2 is about all I could stomach), and my concern is not that the child is pregnant but how disrespectful these teens are to their parents/grandparents.  I mean, at what point is it okay to curse your parents or cop an attitude because YOU got pregnant and YOUR social life IS about to do a 360? Still rollin' around in cars/trucks/SUVs, talkin' on BBs/sidekicks and no job.  Chile, please!

My oldest son confessed that he stopped hanging around a couple of 'friends' because they were talking back to the teachers and getting kicked out of class, with one recently getting expelled for doing some dumb ish.  I never asked him why they didn't come around anymore, I just figured they grew apart as teens do when they hit high school and are exposed to 'new' people.  My daughter relayed a similar situation with an ex-friend of hers who was fast with the guys and cursed out the vice principal when he caught her (them) in a compromising position.  WTF?

Disrespectful kids grow up to be disrespectful adults (if they're allowed to live that long).  Wannabe gang bangers, from the suburbs no less, will do some dumb ish to get street cred (aka respect).  Why?  In 5-7 years 98% of these people won't matter.  What turns you off about striving to do your best?  A clique of teenage girls pop out babies like they're having some kind of contest to see who can put the ultrasounds and baby pics up first on My.space and FB.  Ludicrous, I know, but I've seen it with my own eyes.

FB status of a 16 y.o. teen mother (scantily clad I might add):   "Can't nobody tell me nothing..I got two babies AND my own crib and I don't give a damn what you think about it.  Imma take care of me and mine."  Hmm, wonder who she's talking to?

Something about that scenario will make another young chic think, "well I can do it too.  It's all good."  Honey, you have no idea.

Apparently, the girl's mother grew tired of the foolishness and kicked the girl out along with her two babies.  Not sure where this crib is that she speaks so highly of, but I doubt this attitude popped up overnight. So at what point did it start, before or after she became a mother?  My daughter said she was a quiet, honor roll student before all of this happened.  What changed her?  Did she lack attention?  Did her mom or some other adult in her life chastise her for getting pregnant the first time?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Don't get me wrong, my kids (and nieces and nephews galore) have definitely attributed to the couple of gray hairs hiding on top of my head.  I get the side eye and the huffin' and puffin' too (Lord knows they got it honest, lol).  Have they disappointed me, made me angry enough to grab my Louisville Slugger out of the trunk, sure, but I have always treated them with respect; God knows I'm far from perfect.

I understand where the older generation is coming from, but I don't think the youngins are a lost cause yet.  Some kids are so beat down by the time they become teenagers they're more or less like, "to hell with it." I think it's dangerous to write these teenagers off because they screwed up.  After a while some kids just can't be helped.  We should at least try.   Though constructive criticism is good, encouragement in spite of (insert infraction here) goes a long way.  We all have a story to tell..remember those dayz?

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