Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Wait Not, Want Not

We're raising a generation without patience. If you think about it, they don't have to wait for anything. For example:

- They don't have to wait a week or even an hour for photos. They can print them out themselves via their computer and printer.
- They can have a meal in two minutes at any one of hundreds of fast-food places.
- If their food or drink is chilly at home, it takes seconds to warm it up in the microwave.
- Their dishes are washed and dried within an hour, without them getting their hands wet.
- They don't have to send a letter and wait for a response - an e-mail or, better yet, an instant message, is more their style.
- They don't have to reminisce about movies that they enjoyed at the theatre. They simply wait a month or two and purchase them.
- They can record a television show and watch it without commercials, without even waiting for the show to be over.
- When they are young, they don't have to learn to entertain themselves with toys or games. DVDs and video games are the diversions of choice.
- They don't have to worry if a store isn't in their city or mall, they can order anything online...instantly.
- They can buy groceries or gasoline at any time - day or night.
- Many of them can exercise in their basement on treadmills or home gyms.
- They don't even have to go to the record store to buy a new album. They can purchase and download it immediately.
- They can talk on a phone, listen to music or even watch movies whenever and wherever they want.
- They don't have to go to the library to do research. It's ALL on the internet at the touch of a button.
- Some of them don't even leave their houses to go to school. They are educated via the internet.
- When they write a paper, they can instantly make as many copies of it as they need...and save it for later use.
- If they make a mistake when they write an assignment, they can fix it immediately - no need to start over.

All of this begs the question: Are we creating monsters? This bold new life that the next generation is living is so devoid of effort and time that they may not be physically or mentally able to deal with real life on an everyday basis. Their lives, although enriched by technology and progress, have been stripped bare, leaving them without the life experience to deal with relationships and daily challenges. They have everything they want, wherever and whenever they want it, and yet, so many of them feel so lost and so unhappy. If they don't have to work very hard to do most common tasks, will they have any clue how to build a life and an existence that will satisfy them?

Is the next generation doomed to failure thanks to everything that we and our ancestors have worked so hard to discover, create and accomplish?

23 Comments:

At 12:43 PM , Blogger Barbara said...

You did a nice job of pointing out all the time saving devices that make wait times shrink. Time will tell how these changes affect society. I learned some things reading this.

 
At 7:51 AM , Anonymous Mo said...

This is so true - and to think of all the people who say WE had it too easy!

I'm here from Michele's - have a great day!

 
At 8:02 AM , Blogger Juggling Mother said...

"They have everything they want, wherever and whenever they want it"

I doubt that any youngsters you ask would agree with you:-)

I think that time saving devices are just that - the invention of the washing machine & vacuum cleaner did not turn all our parents into lay-abouts. Being able to order things online doesn't change how long you have to save for that treasured posession. Having the internet at the touch of the button doesn't reduce the knowledge gained by researching & writing up a subject (it also takes me ages to research stuff with so much info available!)

IMHO It's still about how they are brought up, and what values are instilled into them.

 
At 9:04 AM , Anonymous kristy said...

Hi, Michele sent me. This post was ridiculous. Just because kids can microwave things fast and print out pictures doesn't mean they have it easy. These time saving devices merely make up for schedules that are tighter than ever, and create a grueling pace to life that is probably one of the reasons kids today have proven to have more stress than any generation before. We can argue back and forth that our lives were tougher than our kids, but unless you truly believe that microwaves and DVDs are ruining kids as a whole, I think this post was more jealousy than anything. After all, YOU don't have to wait for any of these things either, why are our kids losing patience any faster than you?

 
At 9:33 AM , Blogger Karen said...

Kristy, you totally missed my point. I was trying to say that even though life is "seemingly" easier, it's not at all and our kids are not happier.

I also believe, however, that the grueling pace of life is something that is brought on by oneself. Sometimes the kids or the parents have to say no. They don't have to do it all, no matter what anybody says.

 
At 4:12 PM , Anonymous Claire said...

I was having a conversation along these lines with my Mum over breakfast this morning, about how these days babies are given toys that talk to them and flash to develop knowledge, when I was a baby my Mum talked to me and played with me...I'm sure that the children coming through now will be very intelligent but where are their conversational skills going to be if they're used to communicating with computers and toys that talk to them on repeat?!

 
At 7:04 AM , Blogger yellojkt said...

James Gleick wrote a book called Faster pointing out that any time we have a choice between the old way and a faster way, society has alwyas chosen the faster. He wonders just how long we can keep up.

michele sent me.

 
At 9:05 AM , Blogger Valerie said...

Popping in from Michele's and WOW what a thought provoking post. I agree kids do have things faster nowadays but no always easier.

 
At 4:13 PM , Blogger Corrine said...

Hi. I just came over from A Little Pregnant (found you on her blog list). I like what you're saying here. I also like what Claire said. I think it's all a matter of the child's home, parental involvement, and family values.

If you have each of the modern conveniences yet still eat dinner together, spend time together, or do other family things and have a strong foundation, I don't think these things make a difference.

The child, at least for now, still has to do the research, read teh articles, come up with her own ideas, write the paper, edit it, etc. I just finished grad school and was able to research and write online. What I found is that the level of quality and workload only increased with the amount of technical advances we had available to us. This may be a different side to the story-like in the modern work place-sure we have conveniences but we're also expected to expel a great deal of high-quality work.

As for now, I sew with my daughter, read and teach her letters rather than use a LeapFrog(Pad??), and lived without a TV, toaster, or microwave before I got married 2 months. I hear what you're saying and think it's good for us to consider these things, but I do think we have a lot of pressure on us even though I just spoke with people I've never met and did it in a matter of minutes from my desk.

 
At 10:17 AM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

you're right. My daughter is completely incapable of waiting for something. When I tell her something will be ready in an hour she tells me "But, I CAN'T wait that long. That's forever!"

 
At 12:40 PM , Blogger kenju said...

What a good post and a good idea. You are probably right that we are creating people who do not even have a concept of time and patience. I do think somewhere down the line, the world will suffer because of it, though I can't see how right now.

Michele sent me.

 
At 12:41 PM , Anonymous vicki said...

They are certainly going to live a different adulthood than those before them. They are also a generation who get 90% of their information and knowledge from the internet as opposed to mentors, books, newspapers, radio. It makes me apprehensive, that's for sure.
Here from Michele's- glad I came. Interesting post! I'll come back.

 
At 1:14 PM , Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Such good questions and very thought-provoking. It is true that kids today don't have to wait for anything. I have been trying to start an allowance incentive thing for my 6-year-old and realized why it never comes to fruition. The child HAS everything--so why work to earn money when he'll just get anything he doesn't already have at Xmas or his birthday? ARGH! There MUST be some way around this!

Michele says hello!

 
At 1:18 PM , Blogger ribbiticus said...

for years, there has been this ongoing debate as to which is more important: i.q. or e.q. i still believe the latter has greater weight since it teaches children the value of patience, sacrifice, nobility, etc. and not the instant gratification that prevails in society nowadays.

michele sent me today. have a great weekend!

 
At 2:17 PM , Blogger Chatty said...

I posted about this once. an ice cream stand had a call ahead line. What the heck is up with that??

Michele sent me

 
At 6:20 PM , Blogger Maggie said...

I luv this post. I tried to instill valu in my DD by telling her how life was before and taking her to the History center.
Things are faster, but becuase they are faster she's given a report to do and due in 2 days, as before we would ahve had 2 weeks, not 2 days.
Thanks for caring
Maggie

 
At 6:48 PM , Blogger doug said...

Hello here via Michele! Like your template hehehehe (have the same one!) My ties to Mother hood currently consist of helping my Fiancee raise up Ashley who just turned four and calls me "Poppa Doug" and is shared custody withh R's ex and us... but come from a family of all sisters (6) and definately in touch with my Feminine side so I feel like a Mom sometimes hehehe! Back sometime when I can read more..... have dinner on the stove here and laundry to dry and fold (I'm the "domestic God" in this house hehehe SAHD also...

Word Verification Anagrams below!

Todays choice: "oofdes" (Kinda Wisconsin-ish LOL) =

"Often, Other Foolish Desires Escape Sanity!"


Have a great weekend! Doug.

 
At 2:03 AM , Blogger layman said...

I remember my son telling me that now they can take bathroom breaks during class time. I guess with an average of two to three bathrooms in a household now-a-days, kids don't have to learn to "hold" it. In my days, I remember learning to hold my legs together for about a few minutes and concentrate not to let any go, and when everything settled, hold on till I can find a bathroom.

 
At 8:23 AM , Blogger Plumkrazzee said...

Here from Michele's, great post! There is a happy-medium somewhere, more people just need to find it.

 
At 8:34 AM , Blogger Easy said...

Interesting how all of these 'timesaving' devices have left us with less time.

Sort of like 'extra' money...

 
At 9:05 AM , Anonymous kimbofo said...

This is so true. I was having a similar conversation with a work colleague where we reminsced about what it was like BEFORE the advent of ATM machines. If you wanted money, you had to make time to visit the bank during opening hours. I remember as a student having to survive whole weekends without cash, simply because I'd forgotten to go to the bank or didn't have time to go to the bank earlier in the week. Now with an ATM card, you can get money out of a hole in the wall whenever you feel like it. How good is that?

By the way, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment earlier this week.

 
At 4:22 PM , Blogger Juggling Mother said...

Hi, Back again from Michele's.

I still think there are many things kids still have to wait for - although like everything, it depends on how they are brought up

 
At 9:35 AM , Anonymous mar said...

Very true and an interesting post. We will have to wait for another generation to see what we've done... here via Michele's today, and now you left me with something to think about :D

 

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