June 15, 2011

We Failed This Generation

“Our Daddies won the war, then they came home to our moms
They gave 'em so much love that all us kids were born.”
They say the strongest steel is formed from the metal that has been hammered and folded the most.  If this is true the two generations that preceded the Baby Boom: The Greatest Generation, and the so called Silent Generation, were strong steel indeed.  The earliest of the Greatest Generation were born around 1901.  Their parents and grandparents were children of the Civil War.  They saw the end of the horse and the rise of the automobile.  (And we think the transition from Dial up to Broadband was a big deal).  They came of age during WWI, and were becoming adults at the start of the Great Depression.  By this time the weak and the lazy had been weeded out.  They knew hardship, they knew pain, and yet they believed in freedom.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor the whole generation went to war.  More death, more suffering, and the strong survived.  The group slightly behind them were children during the Depression, too young to go and fight, they are called the Silent Generation.  They saw and dealt with, as children all the things their older brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles went through.  They also knew hardship and pain, and loss.  They lost family during the war, they dealt with the rationing at home, they read the news reports, and watched the news at the theater.
These two generations are probably the toughest ever born in our nation.  They had inner and outer strength and they were patriotic and knew America held a special place in the world.  They were also the first generation of Americans who were wealthy enough to be able to give their kids the things they did not have as children.  Our culture became very Child-centric.  If the returning soldiers could have been warned that they needed to guard their families every day from the cultural rot that would take place in the schools and if they would have talked to their chidren about why they fought in the war and what it meant the story would be different.  But it seems many of them chose to just move on with their lives and shield their children from the evils of tyranny.  I recently heard of a man who waited 37 years to tell his family what he did in the war and what it meant to him.  He was a Silver Star recipient and knew first hand the evils of Statism.
“We all grew up on Mickey Mouse and hula hoops.
Then we all bought BMW's and brand new pick-up trucks.
And we watched John Kennedy die one afternoon.
Kids of the Baby Boom.”
But if the strongest steel comes from being forged under pressure, what does that say about the steel that never was put through the trials and heat?  Their parents seeking a better life for their kids than the ones they had gave them more than any generation of children before had ever had.  It was a time of stupendous growth in the USA.  Suburbs were born, many families had two cars, food was bought at the store, and nearly everyone had a television and a phone.  People took vacations on the new highways that were built.  Route 66 became famous.  RVs were invented.  People began to use Dishwashers, & Clothes Washers, we put a man on the moon.  It was magical.
“It was a time of new prosperity in the USA.
All us fortunate offspring never had to pay.
We had sympathy for the devil and the Rolling Stones.
Then we got a little older, we found Haggard and Jones.
A generation screaming for room.
Kids of the Baby Boom.”
The Baby Boomers, and the mini-generation behind them, the so called Generation Jones, grew up in a culture, the speed of advancement and wealth of which had never been seen before in the world.  Then we were drawn into the Vietnam Conflict and these kids were called upon to go and fight as their parents and grandparents had done.  The stated goal was to contain Communism, but the threat to our society was intangible to most and the war was fought literally from the oval office.  Many of their parents were shocked that their kids would question answering the call.  They would have never done so.  But these kids were different and most assuredly this war was different.  We won it on the battlefield and lost it in public opinion and the media.  All of this of course spawned the counterculture, the summer of love, Woodstock, “I’m OK, You’re OK”; Tuning in and Dropping out, Free Love, Open Society, the SDS & The Port Huron Statement,  The Black Panthers, & the Weather Underground. 
And the communists and socialists smiled. 
People began to fear the government instead of the other way around.  The Culture had changed, moral relativism and a turning away from core beliefs had begun.  History was seen as irrelevant at best, and untrue at worst.
“Kids of the Baby Boom,
We have freedom, we have money.
Baby Boom, here in the land of milk and honey.
Counting our chickens way too soon.
Kids of the Baby Boom.
Now we all can run computers and we all can dance.
We all have Calvin Klein written on our underpants.
And at 6 o'clock like robots we turn on the news.
And watch those third-world countries deal out more abuse.
Remember the first man on the moon.
Kids of the Baby Boom.”
The economy turned sour, the middle east began to be a concern, terrorism began its rise.  The cold war was in full swing and the Boomers and The Jones’ began having their babies.  Reagan was elected.  The economy got better, a new time of prosperity in America.  They thought they had seen hardship because of the Gas Crisis and Stagflation.  Boomers are known as being a bit self involved.  It was the generation where Sociology and Psychology really came to prominence. Self-Esteem was born as a concept. Their children grew up at the Dawn of MTV (as opposed to now, where MTV is dead; youtube taking its’ place) .  We of Generation X grew up as children of the hippies.  We lived in a very real time of fear of communist takeover and nuclear war.  Our generation was the first raised by divorced parents, where both parents worked outside the home, we were left alone much of the time.  The television and the Atari, later NES, were our baby sitters.  Computers began to be used in the home.  We grew up watching movies from the video store.  We are the so-called latch-key kids.  The drugs and the music that a lot of the kids of this generation were hooked on seemed far less fun and happy than the drugs and the music of their parents.   Schools were pressured to discontinue punishing students and parents wanted teachers to “like, quit hassling my kids, man”. 
The kids born to the X generation wanted to be friends with their kids more and more instead of being parents.  Competition began to be seen as something less than good.  Political Correctness began its’ march to prominence.  Teachers began to teach to tests.  A generation of students raised under the Great Society Welfare Boom, did their own version of “dropping out.”   We quit saying the Pledge, and Prayer was outlawed in school.  Being a Christian began to carry a stigma.
Things like “New Math” and “Small Group work” (little more than music circles themselves) took over from “Readin’, Ritin, and Rithmatic”.
Children were no longer held back for failure, indeed by the end of the Nineties, there was almost no way to actually Fail.  College began to be seen not as something to aim for, but something that was expected.  A Degree was turned from something indicating a certain level of learning to a “gimme a job” certificate.  Teachers were encouraged not to use red ink because it was hurtful to self esteem.
Gen Y went through high school, (the ones that went, and the ones that were not already being home or private schooled) under this system. 
Now, Gen Y is having children. 
A generation of kids who had little clear direction and parental guidance, who all got ribbons and trophies just for being on a team that they didn’t even try out for having kids.
But the kids aren’t stupid, they are ignorant.  They were raised believing lies and half truths peddled by the spin doctors of the liberal media, the liberal education system and the nanny state.
Thus is the state of Education in this country,  and the failure is not the kids’ failure to learn.  It is the older generations failure to teach and guide.  It is the Boomers, Jones and X’s not understanding proper role of  government and the importance of character.  It is an increasingly liberal government subsidizing birth rates, divorce, and encouraging welfare and dependency.  
We have lost our way; and we haven’t really given our kids a map.  If our society’s light goes out, it will not be their failure, but ours.
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