response to program on KCRW To The Point, Are American Kids Spoiled Rotten?
Thank you for an interesting discussion. Our son is a recent graduate of Evergreen, and as a former educator rather than in my parent role, I agree with much of what Stephanie Coontz observed about those coming of age at present. I was fascinated by Stephen Mintz's observations. I'm surprised at the responses here: many sound like some of our childless friends after a conversation with our son, resorting to judgement and pulling rank. One undiscussed context I think appears less in the home than in society: the effect of the cult of celebrity in the arts. The influence of the for profit media industry and the privileging of collecting in the art world have been detrimental to young people's expectations, whether overly low or overly high. And "Clerks" without the irony still tends to influence his peer group.
We made conscious choices in our son's education, even in daycare, to seek opportunities for him to learn to confront injustice, which includes resisting bullying whether political, personal or among his peers. Another important learning context we fostered was to develop basic skills for living lightly on the planet. Developing critical thinking skills was a priority; some chores were expected, but only recently has he shown some awareness of their value. He's in a terrible job market, but has work experience in social work, music, industrial scale craft, food production and social activism. Thanks to Evergreen, he studied in Egypt in 2010. He's still figuring things out. I'm in awe of this generation.