As I was getting cardio in on the elliptical yesterday morning at the gym, a disco song thumped through my earbuds. All of a sudden I was back with disco balls and shirts with big lapels, riding this elliptical down memory lane and I thought ‘Man, that’s been a LONG time ago. But I sure have had a good life and a lot of fun’.
I started to think about young people that I see around now and I have a little guilt. No necessarily from me, but my generation of parents. We have raised up these kids to be scared. Again, I attribute a large amount of our error to the ever-present news and the fear it has instilled in us, as parents.
Things such as ‘Stranger Danger! Take your cell phone! But don’t use it while driving! Be home by 10! Did you see what happened to the kid on the news! Make sure you get your ID made at school just in case someone takes you! Here, take this cinnamon flavored, alcohol based hand cleaner to use before and after you potty or eat, and any other time you might feel like you’ve been violated by a germ.
We’ve been ‘good parents’, possibly better than our own, because every time they left the house, we had a schedule for their day, when who will be where and so forth.We were trying to do the right thing and arrange for the right fit for playmates and play time and play stuff that was safe.
In short, as parents we were so in charge of every millisecond of their lives that we took away their fun, creativity and spontaneity. But mostly we took away their abilities to trust themselves.
The result is a generation of young people that mostly, not all, but mostly are scared to paint a piece of furniture bright red. Or date someone one weekend and another the next weekend; DATING. Or just learn to step out, to be brave and trust that things will work out; to live.
Now do I think they should ride shotgun in the sexiest red and white Chevelle to ever roll down the streets of Lexington as it went 120 MPH at 70 and the Law Road exit driven by a way cool blonde haired dude named Steve? Lawd no. As daddy, I’d be mortified and never sleep again. But it was one of the best memories of my life being pressed back in that black leather seat by the speed and the feeling of my eyes dilated like dinner plates.
Dear young people today, I have a very simple message that I’ve shared personally with a few young men in my life now; have fun.
Because old happens very, very quickly. And you can never get your youth back. Try not to worry and fret so much. Learn to trust yourselves. But don’t be an idiot though.
Stop painting everything gray and white. Be brave and buy something from Ikea and paint it fire engine red. Be creative. Do you realize how incredibly boring that this now stylish, boxy stuff that’s all built for efficiency and portability and painted gray and white? It’s indicative of your generation; it’s ‘safe’.
It’s not cool, it’s boring.
Take your tax return and fly you and your wife to Jamaica and skin your shins on coral and worry that sharks like that your fresh blood is oozing into the blue Caribbean waters.
And stop saying that your tired. You’re too young to be tired but that’s probably our fault for making sure that you had a regular nap time with a juice box afterwards.
GET UP!..Go work hard! and go dance all night one night…or two. You’ll survive, I promise. You can sleep when your my age and I do declare that it’s a good sleep.
You’re too young to be old just yet. Old happens very quickly and life will work itself out and you’ll be fine….probably.
Trust yourself and make great memories to share with your children; memories of your living and not just your surviving.
That’s the best I can tell about it.