by Kenneth Justice
~ I was talking to two young adults at coffee the other day; both are still in high school and we were discussing our observation that some young adults end up getting into trouble (alcoholism, drugs, mischief) and others do not.
I suggested that one of the keys in raising children is helping your children learn a skill. Whether it is playing an instrument, wood-working, art, writing, etc; having a skill gives you something to do and helps you from getting bored.
Idle hands are the devils workshop
This isn’t to say that musicians and artists don’t get addicted to alcoholism and drugs. Obviously, one merely needs to check out a book from the celebrity section and you’ll be sure to find the raucous lifestyle that so many professional musicians live.
My point has more to do with boredom; too many young adults (and adults) are simply bored.
Modern technology has eliminated the plethora of chores that used to take all day; washing clothes, cooking, preparing food, all used to take an entire day, but you no longer have to catch and scale your fish, you no longer have to go down to the creek with your clothes and washboard, you no longer have to slaughter and pluck a chicken.
Many jobs these days are NOT intellectually stimulating. Sitting at a desk for eight hours, or staring at an assembly line simply don’t compare to the satisfaction our ancestors got from growing vegetables on their farm or in their backyard.
While farming and agriculture was hard work, and at times the storms of life could wreak havoc to the crops; nonetheless, back when 95% of all humans worked in agriculture no one had time to say “I am bored”, and there is something awesome about working in agriculture and feeling more connected to the earth.
Modern day young adults are bored. They spend more hours staring at electronic screens than any other generation in the annals of human history. They tend to work jobs that are unfulfilling and do not compare to the satisfaction of agriculture. Let’s be honest, shoveling cow shit is a hell of a lot more fulfilling than zoning out in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, 40 days a week, and 52 weeks out of the year!
Because we can’t turn the clock back to a time before the smart phone, we need a different philosophy in raising our children. Unless you are among the less than 1% of society that has the joy of working in agriculture; chances are you live in the suburbs or an urban area where there aren’t enough chores and satisfying work for your young adults to participate. Thus, perhaps the answer is teaching our children skills that bring them satisfaction; music, art, construction, etc. Perhaps the answer is instilling within them a sense of pride in those skills so that they don’t waste their lives away playing video games and watching television.
Hasn’t the time come for us to admit we don’t live in the same world as our parents and our grandparents? Hasn’t the time come for us to come up with new answers to these new problems?
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society