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Friday, May 24, 2013

Being 22

I read this blog post over at Tiny Blue Lines about Taylor Swift's song "22" and it got me thinking.

When I was 22, I was married and having my first baby.  I was paying bills, cooking, cleaning, working, and overall, behaving like a mature responsible adult.   

Here's what Taylor Swift and a lot of other people in their early 20's are doing. 

I don't know...it kind of strikes me as sad.  For them, life seems to be all about having fun and partying.  It's not about growing up and becoming an adult because being an adult is boring.  Maybe it's just me, but making life all about having fun and all about yourself seems shallow and empty.   

Life takes on meaning and fulfillment when the focus is off of Numero Uno and on someone else.  That someone else can be a spouse, child, or even a complete stranger who you demonstrate an act of kindness or charity towards.  The point is to put someone else's needs before your own.  

I've seen marriages fail because of this.  People are so focused on "what's good for ME" and "how can I make ME happy", that they don't put their spouse's needs first.  A good marriage is one in which each person puts the other person first.  This extends into being a parent.  As a parent, you'll put your child's needs before your own even if it's to your own detriment.  I know a lot of parents today who don't do that, and it's so harmful to the children.

So where is this self-centered, "life is all about having fun" attitude coming from?  It's simple.  A lot of it comes from us, the parents.  Many parents I know make keeping their child happy their main goal as parents.  Kids are not given many responsibilities and are handed things they want instead of being made to earn them.  Parents are too focused on the here-and-now of parenting instead of focusing on the long-term goal which is turning children into functioning, mature, responsible adults.  Think about how a behavior or attitude in your child translates into adulthood.  For example, you're busy writing your latest blog post (or maybe that's just me? haha) and your 3-year-old son starts throwing a tantrum because he wants a snack.  You drop everything (don't drop the computer though! That won't end well.) and jump up to get him a snack.  How does this translate into adult behavior?  For starters, you just taught your son that if he wants something, he'll get it and he'll get it immediately.  Instant gratification is a huge problem with children and young adults today and, among other things, leads to unsatisfaction in life and debt problems.  You also taught him that his needs (ahem, wants) should come first which leads me back to the paragraph above this one about marriage.              

I checked this book out from the library and am about halfway through it already.  It's very insightful about the problem with the newest generation of kids which the author has coined "Generation iY"  and outlines how to deal with the problem, starting with your own kids.  If you have kids or are planning to have kids, this book is a must read as it really deals with the issues facing kids today.


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  1. I was married and having my first baby, too, when I was 22. Now I'm 32 and have 5 kids!


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