“We’ve told our kids to dream big – and now any small act seems insignificant.” – Mickey Goodman
I read an article today that discussed Generation Y, and the favors that we aren’t doing them as parents, coaches and mentors. In essence, Mickey Goodman posits that we, as a society, have built this generation into instant gratification monsters who believe they’re special for simply breathing. (I might agree, but that just makes me feel like that curmudgeonly old man that regales you with tales of walking eight miles uphill both ways in the snow at age six. I’m only 34. That’s hardly curmudgeon territory, right?)
Okay, fine. We’ve created a monster. Now what?
We have to find balance. I firmly believe in building up young people and making them feel special and worthy. I also believe that they don’t have to achieve greatness in order for us to make them feel that way. However, not keeping score in athletic events and giving every kid a “gee, you’re swell” participation ribbon for showing up probably isn’t the answer. That lies somewhere in the middle.
Instilling confidence should also come with lessons in humility. Encouraging gratefulness should be offset with lessons in giving. A competitive spirit should be equalized with a sportsmanlike attitude.
The quote above that I pulled from the article, in all honesty, makes me sad. It is incumbent upon us to stress to our kids that dreaming big is imperative. But, for the sake of maintaining balance, we need to also make them realize that the small things, especially the small things they do for others, are also of great importance. Therefore, instead of saying “you’re great” for the sake of saying it, we need to stress substance of character over that desire for instant gratification.
That, in and of itself, is significant.
Have an awesome Friday,