What’s up with this Generation?
Tonight, as we were sitting around the dinner table, Jessica mentioned that kids take a particular drug to take the SAT’s. She couldn’t remember but it is something that makes you focus. My reaction was pretty quick. "What’s up with that"?
Then we started to talk. Why is this generation so crazed? Is it this generation of parents? Their desire to make sure their kids succeed? Have they created the insanity of making sure that their kids have everything they wanted but weren’t able to get? Not sure. But, taking drugs to make sure you focus on your SAT’s seem a bit crazy to me.
Jessica seems to think a little bit of the insanity is from the Internet. The constant communication. The 24/7 world. The world is now flat. Facebook. Blogs. Everything coming at you all the time, anytime, when you want it.
Are we becoming gerbils on a wheel? I see Fred’s world. Web 1.0, one month equals 1 day. Web 2.0, one month equals a morning. Everybody wants a part of the Internet. The world is hurling toward us with a click of a finger.
I do find it amazing how this Facebook Generation is growing up. When I was running sales in a start-up in the 90’s, I had over 150 emails a day and was on the phone for 8 hours straight. Seems like nothing compared to now. Forget the phone part but the Facebook Generation is doing just as much on their computer connecting with the world nightly.
Kids who do video games brains are growing in a certain direction. Good or bad? Kids on the Facebook are learning an interesting set of skills for their future. What are those skills?
I’d like to shout to the world that everybody should take a breath of air and enjoy the moment but this is just a different world than I grew up in. I am on top of the technology world just as much as anybody but watching my kids and the insanity of getting into colleges, taking the SAT’s and the stress of getting ahead in life almost takes your breath away. You don’t want to take a back seat because nobody else is but you do because your kids want to and have to compete in the world that they live in.
Taking drugs to make sure you can focus on the SAT’s? There is something there that has definitely crossed the line. Personally, that scares the shit out of me.
It’s not the internet or anything else external that is causing kids to take drugs to do well on the SATs, its the parents. These kids have grown-up in a pressure cooker their entire lives, I’m sure you’ve seen them. They are the ones who had Mozart played in the womb, then were in computer camp preschool, they have 3-4 “extra curricular” activities that their parents force them to be in so they can get into a good school. They get told from birth that there are haves and have not’s and they better well be a have because they can’t hack it as a have not.
Then tell them that their ENTIRE life depends on this one test. What do you think they will do?
Of course these are also the kids who binge drink and party the second they are out of their parents view because it’s the first time in their lives they have been “allowed” to make their own mistakes and choices.
I’ve gone through the SAt “freak-out” thing with two of my own kids, two nephews and one god-daughter. The pressure to get great SAT scores annoys me no end. SAT’s are not predictors of future success, fiscal dominance or emotional maturity. They are merely a check on the status of knowledge at a particular time; Much like a blood pressure reading. But growing up our kids constantly hear about the need to do well in college at meal time, in family discussions or among their peers.
What I learned as a reporter in Silicon Valley for 35 years was that good SAT scores seemed to be linked to a sense of entitlement. Good scores=undergrad early admission to Stanford=biz School= axiomatic entitlemnt to great jobs and social status and venture financing.
If there’s one thing that’s gone AWOL in the convulted world of the all important SAT scores its practical real world experience.
By the time my oldest child was 13 he could cook a decent brisket, make beans or bread from scratch, as well as be trusted to care for his infant sister; keeping her safe, happy and appropriately diapered and clean. It’s these last two strings of items that are more important to me than freaking SAT scores, old school neck ties or who you know at Kleiner Perkins, NEA, or the phone company.
I’ve taught my kids that it’s much more important to be happy in life than it is to have a leased BMW, a house on the SF Peninsula and a winter cabin in Tahoe. I’ve never made excuses for being an educated blue collar schlump. but I’m happy that my kids have moved out to Sacramento, CA, where no one cares what your SAT scores were, or what college you attended.
It’s time to bring sanity back to our kids, disconnect them from the Internet and engage them locally.
but then, maybe I’m just “un reporterro viejo”( an old grizzled reporter) with a refrigerator full of fresh tuna and a bunch of producing avocado trees on a small mountaintop witha small retirement doggy in rural northern SanDiego County.
Best wishes, JoAnn,
The drug your daughter was probably referring to was prescription Ritalin. There is an urban black market in it supplied by kids who take Ritalin for ADHD. Funny enough it can also produce the opposite effect. There of stories of kids who take it for SATs and other tests, only to end up totally spaced out. I agree that it is sad and pathetic that kids think they must go to that extreme.
But I don’t think this is new. I remember kids in my college/grad school days (late 70’s and early 80’s) taking speed to study for tests. My father told me stories about kids in college (when he was there in the mid-40’s) taking drugs, either recreationally or to help them study. Hey, the movie “Reefer Madness” dates from 1936. I take exception to those people who say this generation is somehow different than those before it by virtue of growing up in “the internet era”. Kids are still on the same voyage of discovery that we and our parents were during adolescence.
I felt the same pressure to do well on my SATs or GMATs that our kids do. Is that a bad thing? I know parents who simply say to their kids “if you have the motivation to prepare for an important test, that is great. Otherwise, it is your life…”. That isn’t parenting, it is benign neglect. And it isn’t about the college you go to or getting the job at Goldman Sachs — it is about making sure your kids have a thirst and drive for knowledge. For better or worse, tests are often how the world keeps score.