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It’s Funny How a Few Decades Changes Everything!

by Ira Wolfe – Success Performance Solutions

It’s funny how a few decades changes everything! The Veterans grew up between the World Wars and during the depression. Education for most people was limited to high school. The next career step was the armed forces for most males and combat for many. Upon discharge, a few men returned to school but most started their one-stop-career, staying with the company from young adulthood through retired. Most Veterans grew up in a family with the same parents, same home, two siblings, one family car, one family radio, no air conditioning, and maybe a phonograph. For entertainment, the family would spend a few days at the beach or the lake, play board games and attend Saturday matinees at the town movie theater. Communication was limited to U.S. Mail and phone, often shared with eight neighbors via party lines. Veterans worked hard and waited until retirement to play. Now fast forward to the life of an 18-year-old today. Young lives are shaped by step-families or single parents. Few 18-year-olds have lived in the same house for more than a few years, moving as parents upscale or forced to house-hop to live with divorced parents. Many are single children who own their first car at 16 years old, joining the three or four other cars parked in the driveway. They have owned a personal mobile phone since 8 years old and have never lived in a world without the Internet. In their bedroom you’ll find a digital TV with 500 stations, laptop computer with high speed access, I-Pod with hundreds of music and video files at their fingertips, and a video game console with enough high tech features that makes the CIA envious. Family vacations include Europe, cruises, DisneyWorld and the Caribbean. Finally and possibly the starkest contrast of them all: the Veterans grew up in a world where children lived with their parents until high school graduation or the first job. From that point on, these young adults were on their own, generally married by their early 20’s and raising a family just a few years later. Today our youth lives in a world of “helicopter parents,” hovering over their children’s every move, and “snowplow parents,” clearing a path for their children. Described in a column posted on The Wall Street Journal Online, “a new generation of over-involved parents are flooding campus orientations, meddling in registration and interfering with students’ dealing with professors, administrators and roommates.” “Hovering” has been so epidemic the University of Vermont and other schools have employed “parent bouncers.” The job of the bouncers are to “un-invite” moms and dads who try to attend registration. At the University of Georgia, students who get frustrated or confused during registration have been known to interrupt their advisors to whip out a mobile phone, speed-dial their parents and hand the phone to the adviser saying, “Here, talk to my mom.” According to Richard Mullendore, a University of Georgia professor and former vice president of student affairs, “the cell phone has become the world’s longest umbilical cord.”

Reprinted with permission from Ira S Wolfe and Success Performance Solutions. Copyright 2009 Ira S Wolfe.”

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