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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Has anyone else noticed the lack of follow-through in today's young people? I know. I don't have much wiggle room to complain about lack of follow-through, but, conversely, if I've noticed, it must be bad.

In my quest to connect with The Flash, I joined her in Club Penguin a few times years ago. Okay, I liked herding those puffle-things or whatever they're called, but I was trying to have fun with my niece, too. I was playing a game of Mandala with some child somewhere. She started to lose and wandered off. That's right. She just left in the middle of a game. Had she been in the room, she would have gotten an earful. As it was, she logged out and disappeared from that virtual world.
That's when I decided not to play with anyone other than The Flash on Club Penguin anymore.

But I see it in other young people. The impatience, the boredom, the inability to work for gain. It is a problem, and it will cause problems for all of us.

I read an article a few months ago that showed todays' young people, when applying for first time jobs, expect far more benefits and far less work than really happens. They want the two weeks' vacation, fully-funded insurance plan and vested 401K from the start. They seem surprised to find out you have to put in the time and effort to earn all that stuff. It took me 5 years to get two weeks of vacation.

On FV, I've seen younger players "wander off" several times now, wanting the coin and XP but bored with the planting and the waiting, impatient with the fertilizing and publishing rewards. As I've posted before, you have to put in the time to get the XP, and if you want friends, first be a friend.

We've blamed our microwave culture for a lot, and this seems to be one more thing to lay at its altar. There is no accountability in a social networking game (okay, a person can be shunned or bullied virtually, but it's not quite the same as a face-to-face encounter). There is no accountability in a text message. There is no accountability in a TV schedule that drops a show in 4 episodes for not making ratings. Culture teaches children to wander off as soon as things stop "being fun."

I'm going to do a little parent-blaming, too (to be fair, I really have no specific parents in mind. This is a pervasive problem I've noticed in nearly every child I've met). Follow-through must be modeled but it must also be taught. As adults, we tend to shrug when a child wanders off. It's just a game or a show or whatever. No big deal. Except it's a habit that will carry over into things that are big deals.

The old saying "finish what you start" needs to be pulled out of the proverb box and posted on some walls.  I suppose the next generation will bring it back when they have to diaper themselves because their neglectful parent wandered off to find something more interesting to do.

Maybe a better proverb would be "count the cost before you build the house," but that's a whole other post.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, you have hit one of my raw nerves, Robynn. It drives my crazy. It is about being responsible.When you start something, you make a kind of commitment to see it through.

    When my children were smaller, I remember standing in their doorways with a belt in hand, waiting for them to clean their rooms right. Yes, it would have been faster to do it myself but there are more of them than me and they can make some huge messes. It would be easier to do everything for them and clean up their messes but who the heck said parenting was easy?

    That is why people should think long and hard before they commit their lives to parenting. It is a thankless job most of the time. Bet you would like to thank any parent that taught their child to see it through though. You are right, learning to be accountable is taught by parents and other influences in a child's life. Too bad more people do not see it that way. ;)


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