by Kassandra Lamb
There are many things about human nature that never cease to amaze me. One is how short some people’s memories are. All too many of my friends and acquaintances seem to have forgotten what it is like to be young.
I wince ever time I hear one of my age-mates complain about “these kids today,” using much the same language that our parents used to complain about us when we were young adults.
When I taught college, I certainly encountered irresponsibility, but I met a lot of responsible young people as well. But they don’t stand out in the crowd. They’re just going about their business, doing what they are supposed to be doing. The irresponsible ones get noticed because they’re screwing up.
All this is on my mind right now because I just got back from a trip up north for my niece’s wedding. And overall, I was pretty darned impressed with the young people involved.
My niece is an extrovert extraordinaire. She has a high-pitched voice and a bubbly personality, and people sometimes underestimate her. I can relate. I shared the same traits at her age (still do to some extent, although some mellowing has occurred), and I struggled with being taken seriously.
She did a great job of planning and executing this wedding (with no professional wedding planner involved). It was a particularly tough task since they were attempting to blend two cultures. (Thus the red dress which is traditional for Chinese brides.)
The groom had the good sense to provide a sympathetic ear when she needed to vent, but he otherwise stayed out of her way. Both mothers were sweetly but firmly told that she had it under control, thank you very much.
And she did. The whole thing went off with only a couple of minor glitches—both unforeseeable and neither all that earth-shaking.
One was when the make-up lady accidentally dropped some makeup on the bodice of the maid-of-honor’s dress. There was a flurry of discussion about what to do, until both her sister and I reassured her that the spot was barely visible and probably wouldn’t be noticed if one didn’t know it was there.
This wonderfully mature young woman then shrugged and went back to the many duties my niece had assigned to her, from making sure the cupcakes were stacked appropriately on the cake table in the reception hall to keeping my niece’s rebellious train pointed in the right direction.
She didn’t seem to give the tiny grease spot another thought, which impressed me, since at her age, I would have been totally self-conscious all evening.
That was one of the things I noted as the reception progressed. These young people didn’t take themselves too seriously, but they did take their responsibilities seriously.
There were plenty of high jinks and clowning around (especially over at the “photo booth”) with the occasional ear-splitting squee. But none of them, that I could tell, got sloppy drunk.
I’ve watched many of these youngsters grow up, and I’ve got to say that I couldn’t be prouder of them.
Adjusting to adulthood isn’t easy, and I wish more of my generation would cut youth some slack. And pay closer attention to the ones who are doing it right, instead of the ones who are messing up.
As one of my young Twitter peeps recently tweeted:
“Adulting is like looking both ways before crossing the street and then getting run over by an airplane.” – unknown
I think my niece would agree. I’ve heard her make similar comments.
Although I sometimes wonder about the sanity of some of my age-mates, I’m not all that worried about the younger generation. They’ll do just fine.
How about you? Do you have some young people in your life who make you proud?
Two Quick Notes: I presented at the Writers Alliance of Gainesville this past Sunday, on the topic of Integrating Social Issues into Fiction (pics posted under Author Events and on my Facebook page).
And I’ll be posting this coming Friday, 4/14, on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University on the pros and cons of “writing short” (i.e. short stories and novellas).
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.
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Vinnie HansenApril 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm
As a former high school teacher, I couldn’t agree with you more! Lots of people would make comments about how “brave” I must be to teach at Watsonville High School (a low-income, largely Hispanic school). They thought I deserved a medal for teaching freshmen. And so on . . . . But I loved working with young people until the day I retired. They’re funny and flexible. I’m sure a handful of my students went on to jail, but many more went to Berkeley and Brown and MIT.
Kassandra LambApril 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm
Amen, Vinnie. Funny and flexible and full of life!
Vinnie HansenApril 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm
P.S. Love the photos, especially the one of bride and groom in the picture frame, a perfect example of what I mean by “funny.” Do you think people lose their senses of humor, or maybe their ability to “play” as they age?
Kassandra LambApril 11, 2017 at 1:08 pm
Some do, I think. But there were a fair number of older folks who tried out the “photo booth,” although we were a bit more self-conscious about it.
Gilian BakerApril 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm
I experienced the same thing teaching college freshmen. Yes, I had my share of young people who thought they deserved an A just for showing up to class most of the time. But I also had a lot of great kids who knew what they wanted and worked hard to get it. I hope the Millennials will continue to ride out life’s plot twists with a sense of humor. My generation was fed the “you can have it all” crap (especially we females) and we bought into it hook, line & sinker. But from what I’ve witnessed, both in the classroom and with my daughter, is that they are brave and are willing to forge their own path rather than try to make the one carved out for them work. Kudos to them! Which I’d have been that brave way back when!
Kassandra LambApril 11, 2017 at 3:29 pm
I agree that young people seem to have a bit more realistic view of the world than we did.They usually get what they’re up against but they forge ahead anyway. And they seem to have a lot fewer “you can’t do that” internal barriers to overcome. That’s really cool to see!
K.B. OwenApril 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm
Great post, and I loved seeing the wedding pics (both dresses were gorgeous)! I agree wholeheartedly. My kids and most of their friends were funny, kind, mature, and worked hard for what they considered important in their lives (not always the same things are the parents thought were important, but hey, that’s a generation gap for you).
Like you and Gilian, I taught college – for quite a while, across two decades and two colleges – and there is no merit to characterizing the up and coming generation as lazy or entitled. They constitute a broad spectrum of traits and philosophies, just as any generation does.
I’m hoping none of my students ended up in jail, Vinnie – LOL. Who knows?
Kassandra LambApril 11, 2017 at 3:33 pm
I hope not too about the ending up in jail thing, although there were a couple of my students… 😉
“They constitute a broad spectrum…” Exactly! Generalizing too much is a bit dangerous.
K.B. OwenApril 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm
Sorry for the typo above…should be “as the parents,” not “are the parents.” ~KBO.
Kassandra LambApril 11, 2017 at 3:33 pm
No prob. I figured it out.
Shannon EspositoApril 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm
Looks like it was a beautiful & fun wedding! Congrats to the bride & groom. Well, I’ve never been a teacher like you all, but I’ve watched my twenty-seven year old stick to a grueling nine years of college to get her PhD. And watched her peers and friends hang on to their goals alongside her. It was humbling to watch, especially knowing most of them will come out saddled with debt. We definitely don’t give them enough credit for their resilience.
Kassandra LambApril 12, 2017 at 7:50 pm
Your daughter is definitely an example of what I’m talking about, Shannon. She’s awesome!