Friday, February 13, 2009

Kids Today Redux

I hear a lot of talk about "the young people today" and how they are just not as good as they used to be. It's a pretty constant refrain. Education blogger David Warlick recently commented on an encounter that reminded me of my own encounters with this line.

I hear the complaint all the time, but I just don't see it. Kids are different, but haven't people always said that? I think we romanticize our own youth and forget that we, too, were prone to boneheadedness and blunders. Should it really surprise us that kids can be rude? Aside from questionable anecdotes, I don't know that any of this kvetching is any more real than it was 10, 20, 50, 100 years ago.

Blaming what is a part of the human condition - rude adolescents - on things like technology or video games or rock music or comic books or opera (they blamed a lot on opera in the 19th century), seems misguided at best. Just look back in history and it's everywhere. Every time this argument comes up, people always go to great pains to explain how "it's different now". But is it? It's the same argument repeated endlessly in some sort of endless loop. I'd love to see us move beyond this...

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