Kids These Days

Oh … kids these days.

People of my parent’s generation used to say that about my generation. It was usually said with a slight sneer, and was often accompanied with something like this:

Back in my day, we knew how to work.

And it’s true. People of my parent’s or grandparent’s generations had a capacity for hard work that was astounding. My Dad, in his 80s, could outwork me every day of the week. Period.

Just because they could work us under the proverbial table, though, doesn’t mean that they were better at all things. Rock music and personal hygiene come to mind.

I believe that every generation has believed that they are better in some – well all – ways than the previous generation. We believe that we know more, know different, and know better.

I think we do this because we don’t really understand the next generation people. They have strange attitudes. They demand things that we never would have dreamed of, and they have an attitude of I deserve this.

In short, they are pains in the proverbial tuchus.

It’s very easy to paint them all with the same proverbial brush.

But, like any stereotype, these feelings are misleading.

Case in point, the young man who is working in our basement. Not right now, of course. Hopefully he is home in bed, getting ready to work again tomorrow.

He is a steady worker, friendly, and knowledgeable. While not working at a frenzied pace, he has managed to accomplish a lot in a short period of time. He is punctual, and there hasn’t been a problem that he hasn’t been able to overcome.

In short, he is a solid person. Oh, and he’s in his early 20s. Granted, anywhere in your 20s seems early to me, but there it is.

So here is a young man, successfully self-employed, a hard worker, not easily rattled, and young. He also has a young family.

This is unfortunate. You see, it is easier to lump people together when you don’t know any individuals in that group. When you meet someone of (fill in the blank) group, we make assumptions about them.

And we don’t like those assumptions to be wrong.

This reminds me of an old neighbour we had. He was from Iraq. When I discovered this, I lumped him in with a whole group of people labeled “Middle Eastern Types / Potential Terrorists”.

He drove a cab. As I got to know him – I know, I should have just kept to myself – it turns out that he was treated horribly by my fellow Canadians / Saskatoonians.

When I say horribly, I mean it.

The vandalism to his place and vehicle alone was so bad that he installed a motion sensitive spotlight. Unfortunately, he was overly zealous and turned it onto the most sensitive setting.

This meant that, at all hours, his spotlight was going off constantly. This isn’t a problem during the day; at night, however, with the spotlight aimed directly at our bedroom window, is a different story.

I put him into another category, but I can’t say it in public.

In the end, he suffered so much abuse that he packed his family up and headed back to his war-torn-country.

“Better to be killed with dignity than suffer these cursed Canadians.”

Yikes.

Today I realized that I still put people into categories. By and large, my judgments are wrong.

Maybe I’ll figure it out, one day. In some proverbial fashion.*

*I bet myself that I could use the word proverbial more than three times in a blog post.

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