Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On Character

More great stuff from Doug, this time writing about the concept of character and how it may have changed over the last few generations. I'm into this idea because I keep seeing evidence of incredibly high expectations and a sense of entitlement from young people, often leading to frustration and disappointment when their goals and dreams aren't coming true as quickly as they'd like them to. This has probably always been the case to a certain degree, but what if "character" is a resource in decline?
"My parents were born in the time of the Great Depression. They lived in very challenging times. As a result, many their age have a toughness, respect, and appreciation for life that is less visible in the age group of my peers and children. They cherish their relationships, not their stuff. They seldom seem bored or uninterested with life. They can adapt. They radiate true character.

My generation is once removed from a tough existence. Our parents protected us from the pains they suffered. So many of us grew up 'cared for'. Unintentionally, our parents denied us the opportunity to learn adaptability, consideration, and appreciation for small pleasures. We don't really know tough. So we make it up, fighting over things and 'who said what'. We have more who are still searching, still blaming, still waiting for something they cannot define.

My children are twice removed from tough times. We were even more protective of our kids, shaping their existence to foster their 'self-esteem'. Our kids are even less tough than we were, demanding that the world adapt itself for them or they will be 'unhappy'. It should not surprise us that we see less character and more queen bee in our children. It is predictable that a pampered generation will not seek commitment, delaying long-term anything to squeeze in a little more self-indulgence."

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