Talking About My Generation

by sakuraso

I can’t claim this is anything more than a rant, but I hope it can at least be considered somewhat thought through. This is one of those things that keep bothering me, and finally, there’s a moment when I can’t stop thinking about it, until I write it down and get it off my chest.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say there is a generational war going on, but some people in my generation and those who came after us, and some people in the generation that actually brought our generations into existence have been butting heads. By this I don’t even mean the well documented teenage rebellion against parents who can’t seem to accept that their children are no longer children, or that they’re not quite developed the same way they are. And let’s face it, many of our parents still don’t treat us as adults until we’ve moved away from home for long enough to forget how big we actually are, so that when we come back to visit, they’re shocked to find we’re actually taller than them, and are forced to acknowledge adulthood. Providing our new found stature is supported by some semblance of maturity.

However, what I actually wanted to rant about, is this rising trend of complaints about ‘the youth of today’. Which frankly, pisses me off. This is not a defense of the younger generations. This is not an attack on the current power generation. And I will be pretty much ignoring the older generation. I imagine they think we’re all idiots, anyway.

I am not claiming all the youth and young adults are amazing, intelligent and the answer to all the world’s problems (problems not even caused by that generation, I should add), though I’m pretty sure there’s a decent amount of them around. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never walked past a group of hooded youths and not mentally reminded myself of the emergency phone number. Anyone with half a decent mind will realise there are idiots in every generation, and I’d like to think I have at least half a decent mind, so I’m not attacking or defending anyone but the idiots and those of us who have been unfairly picked on.

This is in no way political. There’s enough debate including politics right now, today, the news is full of stories about some young student idiots hijacking a peaceful protest against, essentially, the older generation screwing us out of higher education, but there’s enough debate about that at the moment. As I started writing this, the Channel 4 programme “Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story” came on, which again is full of people (older generation, which makes me happy) pointing out that their generation is forcing all their debt onto their kids. So there’s enough of that. Incidentally, this programme is pretty good.

What truly gets me, is certain people going on about how our generation is useless. It’s like they are trying to take anything we can achieve away from us.

We’re all just yobs.
Yes, indeed, I’m just a hooligan. My friends and I love nothing more than to go to university, attend lectures, take notes, write essays, grab a coffee and give up a seat for a pregnant lady on the tube on the way home…. Wait, what? Sorry, I thought yob meant ‘decent member of society,’ my bad.

In defence of us non-idiots.

During my gap year I worked in a charity shop. Very yob-like, I know, how did I avoid an ASBO? I could have chosen to travel the world, I imagine if I gave my parents a decent plan of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, they would have funded it, they’re all for worldliness and all that. Or I could have done everything in my power to make as much money as possible. That’s pretty much what drives a vast chunk of society, so really, I had every right to. Instead I worked in a little charity shop, with a bunch of old ladies who made me tea, and adults who talked to me like I had to be a half-wit, due to my age. I worked for free. I did the Most. Tedious. Work. Ever. for free. The old ladies were lovely, and if I ignored being treated like a dimwit by some, they were pretty nice too. I can’t say the same about some of the customers. You would think they’d be clued in to my non-yobbishness, by the following:

1) I was smiling.
2) I was wearing entirely appropriate clothing.
3) I asked them if they’d like me to double bag their items so they wouldn’t get wet in the rain.

I admit, number 3 was grossly rude and inappropriate. How dare I be considerate, I should have just assumed they wanted their books wet. Luckily for me I had an amazing manager, who always stood up for me. There was no ‘the customer is always right’ when it came to them being rude to me because of my age, and the sheer consideration I was exhibiting.

People. I was working in a charity shop. How much of a hooligan could I be? Besides, my manager was far more hardcore than I could ever hope to be. Leather, motorbikes, tattoos and piercings. Really. Who would you rather walk past in a dark alley?

All sorts of idiotic statements keep being flung about about the youth of today. I would like to point out, the youth you brought into the world and nurtured into yobbishness. I’m sure there are youths out there who’d still turn out less than ideal, despite any incredible nurturing, but in most cases, good parenting leads to good kids. So all those people who complain about the failings of the youth: complain about the failings of parenting.

Some of us try very hard to become good members of society. We’re getting education, putting ourselves into thousands of pounds of debt to do so, we’re not becoming parents before we’re legally even allowed to drink, we don’t knock people over and post it on to YouTube. Nor do we watch that sort of thing being posted on YouTube. We’re more fans of the sneezing panda, ninja cat and the laughing baby, to be honest. I suppose we’re an easier target though. We can be insulted. We won’t shank you. If you verbally abuse a hoodie, they just might. Not very fair to us though, is it?

People who complain kids are antisocial, playing computer games at home, and taking their portable consoles when they have no choice but to go out, glued to mobile phones… Who thought up computer games and consoles? Who manufactures them? Who bought them for their kids? Who was unable to instill enough discipline in their kids, enabling them to say “No.” …Who can’t be arsed to whip out a board game and spend time as a family? I like my consoles, but I’m also always happy to challenge my dad to a game of Scrabble, to attempt to avenge all those years of being thoroughly trounced by him. If he only ever let me challenge him to Monopoly… he would have been MINE.

Some of us like our new techno gadgets, but some of us are also capable of hitting pause when someone wants to talk to us, we can do more than grunt. In fact, I’m the one who gets grunted at if I go into the living room during my Mum’s Casualty of my Dad’s football.

I really wish people would think before brandishing about stupid statements about the youth of today. Some of us really don’t deserve it. No matter how good we are, we’re given dirty looks as if we’re hooligans. If we do well in exams, the exams are too easy. We can’t just be good. And if the exams are too easy, take that up with the examination boards, and don’t take away from our satisfaction of completing the exams we’ve been preparing for.

If you’re so dissatisfied with the generation you created, realise our faults might just lie with you.

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