I have been thinking about my mom a great deal lately. It is not surprising since her birthday was just a few days ago. She taught me a lot of things and maybe one of the most important things she taught me was that life is simply not fair.
My mom was not a "sugarcoat things" kind of mom. She knew that once I left home and got out into the real world, that life would not be easy on me and that I would need some sound life skills, so she never let me believe that I was special, deserved special treatment or that life was fair in anyway. On the contrary, she taught me that we are all special in our own way, but no one was above the other. No ones thoughts, opinions or beliefs were greater than anyone else's and that many times in life mine would be trudged through the mud because......life isn't fair. She taught me that no matter what I did in life or how far I went, I would never be any better than anyone else. However....she expected me to always act with kindness, show respect to my elders (whether I agreed with them or not and whether they were right or not), to act with dignity and class under all circumstances and to always remember that the world owed me nothing. She told me that if I were to ever achieve anything that I must work hard for it and that if I really really wanted something in life......I had to work extremely hard for it. I was taught that nothing is really free in this life, that you don't get points just for showing up and that yes in fact.....life is always a competition of sorts whether it is with ourselves or others. That is what makes us try harder and makes us better at anything we do.
So yeah, those were some pretty heavy life lessons and truthfully, they were pretty well instilled in me by the time I was old enough to start school and definitely by the time I hit junior high. It didn't stop life's disappointments.....i.e. not getting to hang out with a certain group of kids because my parents didn't make enough money, not winning a spelling bee that I had studied weeks for, not making the softball team, basketball team, volleyball team. Yes....there was theme there. I was not athletically inclined and trust me....back then not everyone who tried out got to make the team just because it was "fair" and you didn't get a participation award just for showing up. In other words, my mom's lessons helped to keep me realistic in life and helped me to pick myself up when life didn't seem to treat me fairly. Why? Because I had no expectation that life would treat me fairly.
These lessons have continued to help me through the jobs I applied for but wasn't chosen for, the relationships that went south and even the deaths of those I loved. I knew life wasn't fair but I also knew I wasn't singled out. Life isn't fair for anyone. It is what makes us stronger.
Today though, the younger generation just doesn't get this. Maybe because my generation was brought up by parents that didn't sugarcoat anything and because some of life's lessons were very painful, my generation tried to make it easier for our kids. Maybe because at times we got left out, over looked or just plain stomped on, we didn't want our kids to feel that pain. Maybe we wanted our kids to feel special, included and we wanted to help them avoid as much pain as possible....so we forgot to tell them that life just isn't fair. Trust me, we did them no favors.
We now have a generation of kids that think they are entitled and feel no need to work hard for anything. We have a generation of kids that expects the world to hand them things and give them things without having to put effort into getting them. They feel that they deserve kudos just for showing up and that they somehow deserve more than anyone else, their opinion is more important than anyone else's and that no matter what....life should be fair and they should always get their way.
Because of this way of thinking, we have a generation of lost souls sitting on their parents couches and waiting for the world to give them jobs where they are treated fairly and they can call their own shots and make lots of money without putting in the actual work. They want to be taken care of by the government and their parents and get extremely angry when anyone suggests that they take care of themselves. They are out fighting for rights they haven't earned and demanding that they be heard as if their voices were the only voices worthy of being heard.
We have raised a very angry stressed generation of kids because they were never taught one simple rule.....life is not fair. They can't handle job disappointments, being broken up with by their significant other or even being told "No!" Because of the simple fact that this generation doesn't understand that life isn't fair, the use of illegal drugs, pills and recreational marijuana is off the charts. Suicide rates are astronomical and the amount of kids past 18 into their late 20's who are unfocused and often times unemployed is higher than it has ever been. I was also reading that there was a huge decline in church going in the age category from 18 to 35 and a lot of this was attributed to this generation feeling that they are owed. How does that work?
It appears that like everyone else.....God owes these guys something. Forget the fact that He gave up His only son for us. Apparently that was not enough, so when life does what it invariably does and proves that it is often times not fair, they blame God....some to the point of denying His existence. They have no understanding of the fact that their lives may not be great through their own actions or inaction, after all....God does not control us. He gave us free will, but it is so much easier to blame God than to admit that maybe we did something to cause our own situation.
What this generation does not understand is that the way they are going, they will never be better because the unfairness of the world is what makes us better. The fact that I was not good at basketball but some other girl was may not have been fair, but if I had truly loved basketball (I did not) I could have worked my rear end off to have been a better player and I, myself could have evened the playing field a bit. I would also have gotten lessons in hard work, perseverance and self respect. If at the end of the day I still didn't make the team, well then at least I would have known I gave it my best shot and had to admit that maybe basketball just wasn't for me. At any rate....I was not owed a place on the team just because I wanted it.
Yes, I am on a bit of a soap box today. I guess I am tired of people feeling that just because they exist, they somehow are owed. No, my life wasn't always easy and trust me, when I didn't make a team, lost a boyfriend or didn't get a job I applied for, my mom wasn't standing there saying, "Ah poor baby. Those people are mean and awful and you deserved to get what you wanted." No she was standing there saying, "Don't give up. Try again, but remember.....life isn't fair and you won't always get what you want, but it certainly doesn't keep you from trying again now does it?"