Putting others in our box…REALLY???

putting others in a box

by Kenneth Justice

~A couple weeks ago an older grandmother sat down at the table directly next to me with her college-aged granddaughter. For more than an hour the loud-stern voice of the grandmother spilled over onto my table; the older woman had brought the teen out to coffee in order to give her ‘the riot act’ regarding her lifestyle.

Apparently, the teen had taken a year off from college in a quest to ‘find herself’ and this did not fit into the grandmother’s plan for the young woman’s life, “I’ve had enough of your nonchalant attitude missy. You’ve got to take life more seriously and quit all of this silliness, your pissing away your life and I’m not going to stand for it anymore” said the grandmother.

.I’ve actually seen this type of conversation play out numerous times in the past but usually between parents and their children; it always has the same features,

—) The young adult wants to live life more adventurously

—> The parent wants them to take life more seriously

—) The young adult wants to take time off from school to figure things out

—> The parent believes every moment wasted can’t be regained

—-) The young adult feels like the parents are putting them in a ‘box’

—-> The parent feels like the young adult is simply an immature fool

Perhaps I’m simplifying the equation too much….but in many ways I related to the college kid that was being grilled by the grandmother. I understood the young woman’s thirst to have some kind of adventure because there have been so many times in my life when I felt strong desires to do something out-of-the-ordinary….to embrace some kind of crazy experience…..

Yesterday I talked about the simple idea that ‘Your life doesn’t have to be crazy’….but the other side of the equation is that there is nothing wrong if we do live life on the edge at times; there’s nothing wrong if there are moments or even seasons in our lives when things are fast-paced…..our lives don’t have to ‘look like everybody’s else’s!

Growing up in the hardcore conservative Christian culture that I did; this phenomena was perhaps one of the most common occurrences I saw….there was a pressure on children and young adults to conform to a particular standard of behavior to the point of suffocating so many of them.

Professor Mark Noll in his book “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” talks about the way in which Conservative Christian culture scares the young adults from pursuing careers in Hollywood, the fine arts, philosophy, biological research…and other areas of life because Conservative Christian churches tend to condemn their parishioners from behaving in any way that doesn’t fit into their particular mold of behavior.

—-) I have Christian friends who believe watching a PG-13 movie is sinful

—-) I have Christian friends who believe listening to rock-N-roll is sinful

—-) I have Christian friends who believe owning a television is sinful

—-) I have Christian friends who believe that uttering a simple cuss word like ‘damn’ or ‘shit’ is sinful and reprehensible

Too much of the culture I was raised in tries to put everybody into a box, forcing them to talk and act in a certain way……and the truth of the matter is that each of us have to figure out our own lives and sometimes that means our choices are not going to be popular among our parents, grandparents, and extended families….and that is okay.

It’s okay if we make choices that our parents wouldn’t make…because we aren’t our parents. It’s okay if we venture off into the world to figure our lives out….because sometimes that is what we have to do in order to find out who we really are. It’s okay if our lives don’t look like our parents lives; because we are not our parents.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t respect our parents; not at all. We should always to the best of our ability respect our parents and be aware of the sacrifices they made in raising us; but respecting our parents doesn’t mean we have to obey them no matter what they say!

Yesterday a number of readers commented saying, “my life isn’t normal…its always fast paced and crazy”….and that is okay. I wasn’t writing the article yesterday to condemn anyone for living a life ‘outside the box’. Each of us will have different experiences and live different lives…..that is what makes humanity so awesome and incredible…isn’t it?

But just as we need to respect those who want to venture out and have crazy experiences…as I said yesterday; we should never devalue those people whose lives move a little bit more slowly. Each person should be valued for who they are and where they are at in life and if we are going to be mature in our worldview we need to demonstrate grace and patience towards others even when they make decisions that we don’t necessarily agree with them on…..right?

So as I sat there next to the grandmother who was giving her granddaughter ‘a piece of her mind’ I bit my tongue….I was not invited to be apart of the conversation so it was none of my business…..I only hope that the granddaughter finds her way in life and figures out who she is and who she will become….

For now I really need another cup of coffee,



Categories: Religion

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82 replies

  1. So glad I didn’t miss your post today!

  2. I don’t think it’s oversimplified at all, it’s the perfect representation of how it often is, especially when it comes to age gaps. I have found that many of my own feelings vary drastically from those of my own parents simply because we grew up in different generations. I think often times, neglecting any religious or other influences, the ideas we have are shaped by the generations we grew up in. One big issue with my family is interracial relationships, and for my generation it is accepted and almost encouraged, which was not the case for my own parents. It’s hard sometimes to see or value another person’s opinion, but in my humble opinion, I think that we choose or should be able to choose what we do with our lives. It is our life and although we can seek out advice, ultimately it is our decision what we do, because it is our life. Life at times seems too overly complicated.

    • “One big issue with my family is interracial relationships, and for my generation it is accepted and almost encouraged, which was not the case for my own parents”

      Soooo glad you mentioned this…its VERY true. People my age (and myself) don’t think twice about interracial relationships….its not something that would ever even cross my mind…but my parents generation has a lot of problems with it….a year or so ago I asked an older friend of mine why he didn’t pursue dating this particular woman was clearly ‘into’ him…and he said, “Well, I don’t think its a good idea to date someone of a different race”…I was TOTALLY Floored..i couldn’t believe someone would think like that; it seemed so foreign to me.

    • Yes that is the culture we grew up in right? It’s amazing how much of what we think and who we are is shaped by it.

    • “It’s amazing how much of what we think and who we are is shaped by it. ”

      yes….for me a big part of my own maturation as an adult has been to understand how I was raised…and take the good but leave out the bad.

    • “as an adult has been to understand how I was raised…and take the good but leave out the bad.”

      Yes that is what needs to happen right! Bring the good and leave the bad, more people need to realize it. It seems that many often hold onto ignorance that they were brought up with rather than figuring out their own views and opinions on matters. I see that attitude of just going by “that was how I was raised” as a lazy habit.

    • “It seems that many often hold onto ignorance that they were brought up with rather than figuring out their own views and opinions on matters. I see that attitude of just going by “that was how I was raised” as a lazy habit.”

      “ignorance” is a good word for it…

      I was thinking of all the White kids who were raised down South in the 1800’s who simply went along with their parents belief in slavery…..how REPREHENSIBLE!!! Those kids shouldn’t of just ‘gone along’ with what their parents taught them but they should of stood up and rebelled!

    • I couldn’t agree more!! At times I feel that we still need a bit of that rebellious nature in us, because there is so much still wrong with the world and if we tried, maybe we could change it. We get nothing done by just going along with what is wrong, we must at least attempt to change it.

    • Agreed: sometimes rebellion is okay….in the right context

    • Yes in the right context.

    • Yes, I agree and would also add: rebellion is always right, no matter the context.
      Many were saying that it was not the right time or the right context to demand the end of the apartheid in South Africa, but not the late Nelson Mandela, and back then the outcome was more than uncertain.
      “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
      Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • great quote by Dr. King 🙂

  3. People that have never parented children have a difficult time appreciating the balancing act of advising versus controlling. I advised my daughter not to put guage earrings in because I told her there is no going back. She now has big holes in her ears. She asked if I would buy her a tattoo for her birthday. I declined. She has several small tattoos now. She is 21 and I still advise her. When she does her own thing I give her my blessing. Grandma is trying some tough love. I wonder if her grand daughter did what she wanted her to, would she have something else to criticize about her life. If Granny would conjoin, I suspect the kid would ask for help more. A young person outside their parents “box” is just testing their own values.

    • Ellen,

      great perspectives….I like the term you use ‘balance act’ because that is totally what it is. There are those times where a parent should try and step in…and there are those times when the parent should back off…..it takes a lot of maturity to know what each situation calls for.

  4. Quite an interesting write-up but I feel it is the duty of the grandmother to order the way of the young girl if she feels she’s going astray with the experience she has in life, though not conforming her to live in her shoe. I believe young people should be free to explore the world with their gifts and talents but there should be a caution sign to curb all craziness that might amount to foolishness. What makes humanity awesome and credible is not only the experiences we have in our daily lives I think, I believe its how worthy one’s life is. I subscribe to being patient with the young but the old has to ensure the young exercise prudence in the exploration of the world in a loving manner. My opinion

    • “Quite an interesting write-up but I feel it is the duty of the grandmother to order the way of the young girl if she feels she’s going astray with the experience she has in life, though not conforming her to live in her shoe.”

      Michael, I definitely can’t disagree with you because I’m not in their shoes. To be honest, the ‘tone’ the grandmother was using was really intense and I personally couldn’t use that kind of tone myself….but we are all different and perhaps the grandmother was doing what was best….I honestly don’t know…..

    • Bearing in mind that I cannot totally capture what the scene is like, just trying to paint the incident. I trust your word and I believe that the tone should have carried love with it. Love says it all even without words. I suppose Grandma meant well for the young girl. like you said, we are not in their shoes to know what’s up. Pray that we all get it right and get to know the right time to say the right words with the right tone in a particular circumstance. Let us be careful not to overly judge this old lady for we might err.

    • Agreed…..what stood out to me as I couldn’t help but listen to the grandmother talk was the difference between generations: younger generations often ” think” very different than older generations these days

    • I remember the quiet but strong lessons I learned from an old friend, a man who had been my bishop (pastor), and who has been the president of our temple. He was always a kind and gentle man, but a few of his sons– not so much. His eldest rebelled a bit, and his third was a bully at times. Today, though, they’ve matured and now run the business he started. I think they always knew where he stood, but I don’t really recall him saying anything that was in a harsh or abrasive tone. I think maybe he may have raised his voice occasionally, but most of the time, it was soft. He also led a lot by example.

      I benefited a lot from his counsel, especially when I was struggling. I returned to our temple only in the last few years or so, but I remember most distinctly the kind attention he gave to me, and to my father. I knew he was glad to see me there.

  5. Thank you for this post today–you were absolutely preaching to the choir. That could have been me sitting there at that table with my parents. I am the black sheep of the family–the first to divorce, then melodrama in my life leading me to a most wonderful man, an ELCA pastor, no less, who reassured me, when we first began communicating, that if we ever married, I would be his wife FIRST–and he has never gone back on his word. For someone who has never been accepted as they are, this is a refreshing feeling–and makes my belief in Jesus loving me “just as I am”, totally real, when it most certainly wasn’t before. I am going to re-post your blog again. Thank you so much–and a hug to you for such insightful thoughts.

    Blessings. Peace.

    • “For someone who has never been accepted as they are”

      for those of us who were raised in churches we’ve heard the story of the ‘prodigal’ son a billion times…but how many Christians actually realize what the story REALLY says;

      —) when the son goes to the father for his inheritance (which the father knows he’s gonna blow) the father GIVES IT TO HIM! The father doesn’t read him the riot act, the father doesn’t treat the son like shit…he simply accepts the fact that the son has to figure his life out…

      —) Then when the son return….the father doesn’t say “Hey dude, I gave you all the money and its tough luck you spent it” NOPE, he doesn’t say that, instead he embraces him and brings him right back into the family company and puts him back on the pay roll (the Kenneth paraphrased version)

      that to me is what true love is about; understanding when we need to let others make their own decisions in life and being there for them with NO condemnation when they show back up.

    • You realize “who” the Father is? He is the focus in this parable, not the son(s). 😛 (Being a smarty pants lol)

    • Well, the part that was often pointed out to me was the bitterness and contempt of the older son: “A cow? Phht, Dad, you never even gave me so much as a goat so I could celebrate with my friends.”

      See, I’m an eldest child. My wife is also an eldest. We both know that it’s very easy to miss the point of redemption, as we both played a lot of the role that is often expected of elder children: be responsible, be a good example, don’t screw up… and we were sometimes resentful of younger siblings that DID screw up and were welcomed back a little too quickly for our own liking. But when the shoe was suddenly on the other foot for both of us, well, we realized that forgiveness and a welcome back was what we wanted, too.

    • Isn’t it interesting that we all get different aspects of a parable depending on our own life and where we are coming from…..

    • Well, this was the recent emphasis of an LDS Church-produced video fictionalizing a more contemporary take of the story. Best reference I could find for it is here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167349/?ref_=fn_al_tt_9

  6. Reblogged this on Eucharistimatic and commented:
    He was preaching to the choir today, except I was sitting at that table with my parents . . .

  7. My granddaughter and I just got our first tattoos together on Saturday so this really doesn’t apply to me…LOL She asked me to do it with her and we “Pinky Swore,” so we did it together. The girl you wrote about should RUN away from that woman, as fast as she can and live her own life her own way…since it IS HER OWN LIFE. Funny how other people always think they know how other people should live. There’s talking and listening to a person and telling them what you think about issues but you have to love your kids and stand behind them no matter what THEY choose to do with THEIR OWN lives. Other people DON’T know better or what’s best or what’s right…they only think they do. Most of the unhappy people I know…did what they were told or what other people thought best. Blah. No one knows what’s best for someone else. People have to learn their own lessons…you can’t learn from the mistakes of others. What an awful grandmother, seriously. My grandmothers were supportive and wonderful. I was so lucky and they never once told me what to do. My one grandmother was magic and I think of her every single day. You can say the woman was trying to help, that she loved her grandchild and was only doing the best for her but it’s not true…she was doing the best for herself and didn’t care at all what was best for her granddaughter. You will find that people usually do what’s best for themselves…demanding, punishing, withholding, nasty, if they don’t get their own way. The poor kid sat there, that’s the real shame, she has already been conditioned to take that kind of abuse and that’s so sad. If the granddaughter got up and left she might have been able to help the woman. I doubt it, she’s probably used to being the biggest bully in the family…but perhaps no one ever stood up to her before. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.

    • First tattoo with your granddaughter; TOTALLY COOL! Congrats 🙂 the fact that your granddaughter would want to do it WITH YOU tells me a lot about the dynamics of your relationship with her 🙂

  8. In todays world I can only imagine how tough it would be to raise a kid . . . hell I don’t know if gramma was right or not . . . Personally I never got the lecture, but would it have changed my mad dash down the yellow brick road? . . . naaa

    • ” hell I don’t know if gramma was right or not ”

      JJ, dude we are on the same page. I left out a lot of stuff from their conversation but while I totally did not like the tone the grandmother was using (she was being really intense if you ask me) but who am I to say that she was wrong for what she was saying??

      I honestly don’t know…life is tough…the economy is tough….no easy answers.

  9. Bravo!!!! Encore!!!
    *** clapping hands wildly and whistling ***

  10. Reblogged this on 2l2phant and commented:
    Great read!!!

  11. Isn’t funny we teach kids to think outside the box. To think for them selves. But soon as they do we want to put them back in A box. For all of a sudden it is crazy to think out side the box or even be out the box.
    We created something that in no way will ever make sense. Think for yourself but do it from that box. Sorry?
    I try to live outside al boxes. Questioning everything every box. But guess that is the box for those fools who want to questioning everything and are people who belief nothing is right. No sense to think in boxes.

    • “Isn’t funny we teach kids to think outside the box. To think for them selves. But soon as they do we want to put them back in A box. For all of a sudden it is crazy to think out side the box or even be out the box.”

      Ranting Crow, holy cow that is an awesome observation. dude I wish I had though of it; SO TRUE!!!! Parents are constantly telling their children to ‘think outside of the box’ but the minute children venture outside of their ‘parent’s boxes’ the parents act like the children are crazy!!

      SO TRUE!!!!!

    • Just so happen I talked about education today. How it has become an industry in a way.

  12. Another great post, Kenneth!

  13. The most you can give to a young adult is trust. I had the opportunity to listen to them and hear their candid sharings from several countries, and the common desire was to ask their parents to trust them. They might go for an elyptic orbit, but they will reach the goal…
    Unfortunately, less and less family meets the heart-requirement to share, live and breathe together. Sure, parents are busy with from one viewpoint understandable reasons, on the other hand youngsters already live a projected life, lacking even the basic communication skills – in person.
    For some reasons, immature parents, family members force their way of thinking as children were possessions, objects. And it is normal to break out from oppression. Nobody wants a commander, nobody wants to be slave in a family.
    If we do not trust in our children we do not trust in our education, our heart. Sure, we must be there for them, but with a respect, as they are Blessing from Heaven.

    • I really like your comment and the context of parents who view their children as “possessions”…I’ve seen this in a lot of circumstances and the parents who think that way are very difficult to connect with……”nobody wants to be a slave in a family” so true

  14. I thought about taking a break from school when graduating secondary but my parents were very against it. I am so grateful to them to convince me not to do it because now I realise University is awesome 🙂
    There’s one thing your Christian friend is right about though, we should watch less TV. It’s time consuming and usually it teaches you nothing, there are exceptions though. But to call it ‘sinful’… Well, what is ‘sin’ these days anyway? 🙂

    • Your example is really good because some times it’s important for the parents to intervene and do their best at encouraging their children in something, in your case it was graduating secondary; the key is for parents to be sensitive and understand their children well enough….

    • And there’s the key to all parental problems: “understand their children *well enough*” 🙂 Parents will never be able to understand their children completely (in most cases that is) and that’s okay. Initially I was going to say “my parents don’t understand me at all” but that is not entirely true. They might not get what I’m saying the whole time but in the end they are the ones who’ve known me the longest and they recognise certain tendencies in my behaviour which makes them one of the few able to anticipate my next moves and to tell me what to do next. They are also the only ones brave enough to make me aware of my tendencies.

  15. Happens all the time…….so sad. Let them live their dreams in futures waiting to be discovered.

  16. Reading this takes me back to middle school. When rules began to change. Freedom . . and being able to express without limits. What a rush!

  17. This is why I omit certain aspects of my life from my parents, a habit that started in late middle school. There is a person they want me to be and thinking of me as that person makes them happy. I’m not going to avoid the things I want to do because of that. Instead, I share with them the parts of my life that make them happy and only mention the other stuff if i need to.

    Another fantastic post!

  18. Reblogged this on reylo: thoughts from the journey and commented:
    As the parent of 16 and 18 year olds, this was pretty timely.

  19. As the mom of two children, I am often torn between the strong sense of responsibility I have to guide my children to be the happiest, most well informed and adjusted adults (my daughter is 12 and my son 10) as possible, and allowing them to do things that do not align with that goal, so this post hit home with me on a few different levels. Thanks for sharing! =)

    • Ann,

      Yup there is no clear cut answer to every situation you and every other parent will face: it’s a balancing act of when u need to step in….and when u need to step back and let them figure things out for themselves…..

  20. You’re definitely right, but there is a part of me that sort of doesn’t understand what the young girl is going through. It’s something that is kind of a problem for me personally, as a professor and I worry about it as a parent too, because for me, I knew what I wanted to study when I was in the 6th grade, and I knew I wanted to be a professor 3 years into my undergraduate degree. I chose my path and achieved my goals. Of course I want everybody to have that freedom, but at the same time I don’t quite understand how somebody can be 19 and not know. It’s just sort of foreign to me. I think a lot of parents (or grandparents) struggle with remembering what they were like at that age. So I think it also seems foreign to them as well just due to selective memory. They’ve lived a lot of years as a responsible adult and have security, and parents want that same security for their children. I think there is also sort of naturally as part of evolution to cut our kids loose. To raise them and say, alright you are an adult you are done you need to survive on your own, but we also want them to be as safe as possible if they are going to be on their own.

    I think though that safety and security are not really about money. Our goal should always be about happiness. We can take a lot more adversity and stress in life when we are happy. And happiness usually derives from a sense of self-determination in one’s life and the freedom to make our own decisions. When we have the freedom to choose our own path even when we make mistakes we grow and learn and this gives us the emotional fortitude and the self-awareness to be happier with time. So even though I don’t know what it’s like to be 19 and the need to “find myself”, I do value the freedom of choosing your path in life, so hopefully I will still do right by my child should he suffer the same mental block! lol

    • nice point, especially there part about having the freedom to make mistakes and learn form them!

      but disagree on the happiness part – happiness is based on “happenings” and is subject to change on whimsical things – instead, true health is found in contentment – which is not based on feelings or circumstance – and Martin Seligman even changed his definition of a meaningful life to not use the word “happiness” – because it is too shallow – and instead chose the word “flourish” to describe wellness. Oh and also like your point that too often adults forget what it was like to be that age – wow – if they did remember it would help a lot….

    • Thank you for the comment. I view happy as different than happiness. If I say I have “happiness” in my life or I pursue “happiness” I don’t think that implies all moments are happy or easy. Being happy all the time would not be happiness, but rather euphoria which would require probably some sort of drug! lol Happiness is based on a culmination of experiences some good and some bad, but that help you grow. Maybe flourish is a better word I like it, but I think too often people see “flourish” as pertaining to prosperity in an economic sense which of course can end up being empty. And while contentment should be a goal I am not sure you can know contentment without conflict and overcoming those conflicts to feel content. Perhaps it is because contentment makes me feel happy that I do not really separate the two. In countries like Sweden in Denmark where the happiness of the people is a primary goal of the government, people are, as a result happier, but that doesn’t mean they are happy all the time. They just have a higher level of happiness. 🙂

    • I get it – and I like the point about euphoria. Oh, and I have also heard that Sweden and Denmark have amazing health care plans (universal coverage) and well, maybe that relates to this happiness aim…. (oh and thanks for replying)

  21. I have Christian friends who believe watching a PG-13 movie is sinful

    The guideline we were given by leadership was “no R-rated movies”. Now, I admit that my wife and I bent this rule, but… we decided in the long run, we needed to be carefully screening ALL of our movies, because ratings sometimes were misleading. We also decided it was best to discuss things with our children, always… because we knew we couldn’t shield them from everything.

    I have Christian friends who believe that uttering a simple cuss word like ‘damn’ or ‘shit’ is sinful and reprehensible

    As a writer, I’m fascinated with linguistics. So many words considered vulgar are Old English, and seem to have come with the Normans and French being the language of kings for a time… to this day, French-based words seem more educated, while Old Anglo-Saxon words seem more base.

    Anyways, I decided to have a “swear” talk with my daughter years ago. I listed several crass words, explained what they meant, and I said that I wanted her to use them ONLY for what they meant, and not to use them in polite company. She has since chosen not to swear at all, although I still do (I’m a bad example). This is probably most obvious when one of her favorite YouTube vids dropped an f-bomb the other day and I shouted: “Dammit, the only person I want to hear saying ‘f***’ around here is me!” (Like I said, I’m bad example, and I appreciate her doing well in spite of it.)

  22. Thanks for that post – Kinda believe myself that life should be —- out with a bang – never one not to dive in on matters of emotional substance, stress or anything more esoteric – I live on the edge – Kinda the only path I know

  23. It’s not uncommon – it’s even kind of traditional – to take a year off and travel before you start college. I wish I had.

    • There are a lot of articles coming out about the benefits of a “gap year” between high school and college and how it can actually help young adults out quite a bit

  24. I like your points made – but two things – first, I wonder where the parents were for this gal – like why was the grandmother playing this role. Also, I find it interesting that there was even a conversation about this – and then at a cafe at that – because from our experience with controlling parents – (the type who do not see the value of the things you note – like finding oneself or exploring to figure things out -) well usually there is NO DISCUSSION at all about such matters – instead, money is cut off – or other circumstances are firmly manipulated that leave the young adult with few options – except to follow their plan or break away completely.

    another side note, I find it interesting that floundering in young adults (which is different from the exploring you mention, but has some similarities) well floundering and the inability to decide on a career and the inability to settle with certain things is often associated with those that have been under “passive” or “permissive” parenting styles – supporting the argument that children left alone do not unfold and blossom like a flower – but they need structure, input, guidelines and well a mix of parenting styles (the democratic type) in order to have more chances of adjusting into adulthood. Hmmmm

    • Good questions and points….

      To be honest, I had to omit certain details that would shed light on your questions of “where the parents were for this gal” and “why was the grandmother playing this role” due to preserving the anonymity of the people (they were sitting practically on top of me, in fact our small tables were touching each other, so i couldnt help but hear 80% of their conversation) one of the hazards of writing my blog is that certain details which would “fill in the blanks” can’t be included in the story for the sake of privacy concerns…

      As to the your question of why this kind of conversation would take place in a cafe; that question I can answer! I live in what would best be described as a multi-cultural coffee house community: at one point we had 6 coffee houses on the same block! As it is, there are more than twenty five coffee houses in the little downtown that I hang out at and as I said; it’s very multi-cultural with tons of europeans and one section (city) has the highest proportion of arab-Americans of any other place in all of the united states…..so everybody practically lives at the cafe! I moved here from Chicago when I was younger and since I still have the “big city blood” flowing through my veins I tend to gravitate toward areas like this 🙂 All I have to do is order a coffee and sit down each day and I can’t help but meet somebody new: it’s engrained in the culture of this area

  25. Respect is a two-way thing in my book.
    I wish Parents (& Grandparents) respected their children’s right to be an individual.

    You can’t gain respect unless you set the example and give it in return.

    …..and as to someone saying “Their life is fast-paced and crazy”……..well, if they’re not happy with their life, it’s about time THEY changed it.

    Life is what you make it – ‘you’ being the operative word in this sentence.

    When will people start taking responsibility for their own actions.

  26. Kenneth, looks like you always know how to write the perfect things. I personally except family’s advice or suggestions, as long as they are not too nosy, annoying.. Lol I wish I had the freedom and the opportunities like the kids of these days. I know that culture and religion has a big affect in still in new generation. In your scenario I don’t if the grandmother was helping her granddaughter or destroying her future. Every situation is different and we all react differently . I guess time will show the fruits of our decisions.

  27. I can imagine the conversation that ensued after my great great grandfather informed his family that he was taking his new bride and leaving the balmy shores of Britain to investigate the new gold fields at Bendigo, Australia. Then the conversation that ensued after my great grandfather told my great great grandfather that he was taking his new bride and leaving the balmy deserts of Australia to investigate the new goldfields of Otago, New Zealand. Then the conversation……

  28. This is great – yes, live and let live. I’ve found that many times when people are focused on controlling the outcome of someone else’s life, it’s because they feel powerless over the outcome of their own. The most confident and content people usually keep their eyes on their own paper – they’re truly living. Great post Kenneth.

    • “I’ve found that many times when people are focused on controlling the outcome of someone else’s life, it’s because they feel powerless over the outcome of their own.”

      that’s a really interesting point…..so perhaps parents who are too controlling do so because they feel that their own life didn’t turn out the way they wanted….

  29. I am not that far removed from college and, I have to say, it’s hard for me to understand these “find yourself” people. What are they looking for? Have they really had lives so charmed, so easy that wasting several years of prime “move up in life” time makes sense?

    I know my generation is supposed to be 100% made of special people who can be anything, but reality exists. Some of us suck. Some of us aren’t going to be great artists or biologists or whatever and we need to realize, in my opinion, that no amount of fucking off and “finding ourselves” is going to change that.

    If you want to be something iconoclastic, tell grandma that you’re going to do your own thing and will no longer require her patronage. If you are too weak to do that, then you should probably listen to granny and get a real job or real preparation.

    This is a slight tangent, but I think this sort of deeply “who-gives-a-shit,” first world problem is why I prefer a the literature and art from people who aren’t upper class white folks.

    • “I know my generation is supposed to be 100% made of special people who can be anything, but reality exists. Some of us suck. Some of us aren’t going to be great artists or biologists or whatever and we need to realize, in my opinion, that no amount of fucking off and “finding ourselves” is going to change that.”

      lol I love your comment! Did you read that article that came out a few months ago which talked about the generation ME? Your comment reminds me a lot of it.

    • I didn’t have the pleasure. Actually, I’m working on an article of my own on this subject. I’ve also read some literature on my generation. Evidently, the self-esteem movement has made us comparatively narcissistic, entitled and likely to view failure as a fault of the world, rather than ourselves.

    • I don’t know if you have the time but here is the <link> it’s pretty funny and the things you wrote In your comments almost directly parallel the themes in the article 🙂

      ‘narcissism’ is definitely a major characteristic of generation Y (I was born in 77 so I’m considered to be apart of the first year of generation y and the last year of generation X)…..

  30. The one thing I would say about what the grandmother was probably trying to convey but not well, is that time can be wasted. Yes live life on your own terms but remember that youth is not forever and there needs to be some consideration for that fact. Ironically I’m on the other side of it – I wish I had more adventures when I was younger and so now I can be the total adult but it didn’t work out. You don’t want to live like there’s no time limits and yet you don’t want to miss out either. I suppose the grandmother was just trying to help her from making mistakes in terms of time, etc., but trying to be controlling that way is NOT the way to go. Anyway, I agree that we can’t force people to live as we would like them to or think they should. I do understand that sometimes we just have to make our own mistakes in order to really learn the most valuable lessons. Sadly, that sometimes takes more time than is preferred and I think that’s why adults (parents or otherwise) try and get involved because they know from personal experience. The trouble is though, they forget that sometimes those lessons aren’t or can’t really be learned other than through experience.

    • “that youth is not forever and there needs to be some consideration for that fact. ”

      damn it!!! I was hoping youth WAS forever cause that would then explain why I still keep getting acne 😉

      “I wish I had more adventures when I was younger and so now I can be the total adult but it didn’t work out”

      its never too late for an adventure Jen…is it??? Just buy a plane ticket and you could be in an exotic place backpacking through the jungle or the snow!

    • LOL yeah if only I had the money for that kind of thing. 🙂 I really needed to pick a career that paid more lol. 🙂

  31. Amen! There are so many people out there who have been squashed by “well meaning” and “not so well meaning” people.

    I am a coffee lover, too. I drink mine brewed strong and served with cream…no sugar, but a cookie or muffin on the side is nice. 🙂

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