Friday, August 2, 2013
In general, it seems to me that a lot of young people are having a rough time of it. That's not surprising. The Talking Heads may wax eloquent about how much better the economy is doing but if it's true (and I see no evidence of that) the beneficial effects are not trickling down to the twenty something group.
Sitting in a waiting room yesterday, I had a conversation with a fellow about my age. He was from New York city. His accent aggravated me and I am sure mine grated on his ears, but we did manage a conversation.
He had two sons, about the age of my two kids. Unlike mine, who went to technical schools in British Columbia, his had gone the more traditional route and gotten college degrees. Liberal arts college degrees, to be exact. In my time, that was a ticket to a pretty good life. But these days, younglings with liberal arts degrees are often finding that waiting tables or flipping burghers is all they can find. I know one young lady who got a teaching credential but works at Walmart as a cashier.
My wife and I send our kids money when they need it. My feeling is that they are both working hard to take care of themselves, they are not lazy, and if they have a big dental bill they need help with, or they are a little short of rent, we will help out. I don't pretend that my wife and I are "stiff with blunt" as the British say, but we are not poor and it makes us feel good to help.
The fellow I was talking too , in that brusque and tactless way some Northerners have, let me know that I was doing it all wrong. He didn't help his kids. They were adults now, and on their own. I could tell from the watch this gentleman was wearing he was not short of jing. I asked him how his kids were doing, and it turns out, not so well. His philosophy was that they were on their own and if they couldn't pay their rent, or their car insurance, or couldn't get their teeth fixed because they had no insurance, that would build their character.
This seems ridiculous to me. Are they not still his family? Doesn't family, and by this I mean the extended family, stick together and have a "one for all and all for one" attitude? Apparently, not everywhere. I know this, when this fellow has another 15 years on him and needs his sons in so many ways, they may not feel very responsive.
It's true my wife and I will not live forever and someday we won't be around to help. But I don't think that's any reason not to pitch in here and there when our children need it while we are still alive. They'll do fine on their own. They are doing fine now. But why should they worry over things they absolutely cannot help if we can alleviate that for the "now" time frame?
Maybe its a "Southern Thing" but I would think it had more to do with being a parent than your regional culture.