Why I Get Angry When People Make Snide Comments About “Kids Today”

I’ve been seeing a lot of comments on social media lately about “kids today”. 

Unkind comments. Judgmental comments. About today’s generation having no manners and no respect. About being entitled. 

I have three children between the ages of 13 and 22. Additionally, I have volunteered in classrooms for 15 years and worked as a substitute teacher with kids from preschool to high school for 8 years.

Let me tell you a little something about kids today…

Kids today have to compete with cell phones for their parents’ attention.

Kids today have to contend with social media. With photoshopped realities that make them feel less-than. With bullies that are no longer on the playground, but instead, have the potential to humiliate them in front of hundreds or even thousands of their peers.

Kids today know EVERY SINGLE TIME they are excluded from a social gathering, because they are bombarded with photos on Instagram and Snapchat.

Kids today are worried about someone walking into their school with a gun. 

Kids today can’t just casually play a sport. They have to commit. To hours of practice. To traveling. To huge expenses. And after all that, to maybe end up on the bench in this hyper-competitive world we live in.

Kids today can work their butts off to get good grades, take AP classes, a high score on the SAT, perform volunteer hours, have multiple extra-curricular activities, and then STILL not get into their college of their choice.

Kids today often start their adult lives with enormous debt. Over the last 50 years, the cost of college has risen at nearly five times the rate of inflation.

In 1978, a student who worked a minimum-wage summer job could pay for one year of in-state tuition at a 4-year public university. My kid’s summer jobs could barely pay for a year of their books.

Kids today have spent the past two years living through a pandemic the likes of which no other generation alive has ever experienced.

As I mentioned previously, I worked as a substitute teacher for several years in our local public school district. 

When I first started as a sub, I imagined there would be paper airplanes flying around the classroom, kids going to the bathroom and not coming back, maybe a prank or two at my expense.

Because nobody gets the brunt of kids’ bad behavior like a substitute teacher, right? 

But here’s the thing…I didn’t.

Were there some difficult kids in the classes I taught? Of course there were. 

But there were difficult kids in my own school in the 70’s. 

And there were difficult kids in my parents’ school in the 50’s.

I will tell you this:

The absolute VAST MAJORITY of the hundreds and hundreds of kids I worked with were respectful. Helpful. Kind. Empathetic. Incredibly smart and resourceful. 

And because of that, every time I see a nasty comment on social media that begins with “Kids today…”, I get angry. And I just have to assume the commenter actually spends very little time with kids today.

Every generation has its challenges. And every generation does their best to rise to them.

I look at my kids, and their friends, and their peers, and personally, I’m counting on these “kids today” to be the much needed change we need to see in this world.

Because kids today are awesome.

***To meet some incredibly kind kids, check out “These 18 Acts of Kindness by Kids Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity” https://imightbefunny.com/heartwarming/these-18-acts-of-kindness-by-amazing-kids-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity/