Thursday, April 10, 2014
In a recent podcast, Nate and Viidad/Seven were discussing some generational observations. Mostly, they were ripping on Baby Boomers, and deservedly so. The Baby Boomers, collectively, are bringing about the downfall of this once great country. Some are working on this purposefully, but most are unwittingly bringing it about because of their attitudes and how they have lived their lives. Unfortunately, they'll be with us for a while longer. But this isn't what I want to talk about. By the way, if you haven't checked out Nate's podcast, you should. He and Seven are a real hoot to listen to. I think Nate might very well be able to fill two or three hours daily with stuff, if he wanted to. The thing I want to talk about is the Gen-X phenomenon of Latchkey Kids. I was a Latchkey Kid, from first or second grade on. This means that I, as a 7 or 8 year old, was responsible for getting myself up, getting ready for school, walking to school, and walking back home to do my homework and then watch TV until my parents got home. My mom was a teacher and had a 30-minute commute, and she had to drive my dad to his job because he couldn't drive. So I was alone for 2-3 hours every afternoon. This was usually just fine, and I was able to handle it. There were a few incidents where older kids would pick on me or beat me up. I hate to say that I didn't fight back, as I was taught not to... I sure wish I had fought back. My life might have advanced down a better path in certain ways. I was pretty much a "gamma" as a kid. The thing is, though: I have five kids, and one of them is that same age today, in second grade. I couldn't even imagine forcing him to do this! The only one of the five that I could see handling that responsibility is my oldest, but even then, our family really is blessed that my wife is able to stay home with them so that they aren't forced to grow up early and can be kids. However, were I and my fellow Gen-X Latchkey Kids the unintended beneficiaries of being forced to grow up early? Did this lead us to become somewhat more independent in general? By the time I got to high school, I couldn't wait to get out of the house and be on my own. My family felt very constricting to me, I just wanted to bust out. My kids aren't like that, they don't feel the same urge to leave the nest, and it seems to me that they should, at least a little bit. I'm glad that they do love our family so much that they don't want to leave, but then again I want them to be confident, independent adults. Maybe my job dissatisfaction has a lot to do with this same dynamic: I feel forced to go to a job I no longer really like because I have bills to pay and I don't know how to break out of the employee mode and try to make it on my own. I thought it would be a good career, and I worked hard to pursue it, but over the last 20 years it just hasn't happened for me.