Parents, thank you for teaching your kids to behave in public. For telling them that it’s not okay to burp loudly in restaurants, unless they also excuse themselves just as loudly.
For stopping them from acting like they’re standing before Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Judy, or another of the tv judges law professors dislike.
For teaching your princes and princesses to be well-mannered lest an adult with a camera phone record them for the next viral YouTube video.
No kids yet for me, so I won’t suggest I know what more you could do to teach them the ways of maturity.
Well, maybe just one thing.
It may have nothing to do with what you’ve done or not done to fashion them into contributing members of social security, er, society:
Tell your kids that it’s okay to be kids.
Kids, today, make me think “I was never ever like that at all, or my parents would have sent me to boarding school.” I’ve never seen more young people try so hard to be like adults. My parents always said “act your age,” not “act fifteen years older.”
Now that I’m a real adult and not a student, I can tell these kids that being an adult is less-awesome as they and their friends think it is.
Sure, you can drink alcohol at twenty-one (unless you do that, already), and you can rent a car all by yourself at twenty-five.
But renting a car is like your first visit to the Statue of Liberty: some ooohing and ahhhing for a few minutes, and then it’s over. Then, you’re just sitting there saying
“Thanks, France, for this and your contributions to toast, fries, and kissing.”
To kids using credit cards and forwarding the bills to Mom and Dad:
adulthood is not as cool as it seems when you’re daydreaming in 6th period study hall, waiting for the day when you can be out on your own living the high life, and doing whatever you want (in college).
Sure, there are benefits like catered food at work, weekly happy hours, and getting paid for working all day.
And then there’s non-addictive sedative known as having good credit.
But here’s a bleak picture for you, lest you think that turning twenty-one means stepping into a world full of freedoms with no counterbalancing responsibilities.
You wake up one morning, and it’s just five hours since you were last awake. It’s mid-July, even though you feel like April was last week. Unlike previous Julys, you don’t get to sleep in just because school doesn’t resume until August. No, you have a job that, unlike school, requires daily attendance and participation; without that job, you’d be unemployed and contributing to your generation’s dwindling economic prosperity. And that would make you feel bad.
You pull yourself together and think of those old summer days when the sun was up before you were, and Mom made cinnamon toast for you because she knew it was your favorite. You never thought to ask her how she does it just in case, you know, you’d actually grow up and have to make it, yourself.
No more going to the pool to hang out with the neighborhood kids and checking out those fetching kids from down the street, wondering how you might get to know them by August. You’re an adult, now. You’ve got a gym membership you’ve not used in months, and the men or women you’re into are too young, married, or dating someone they won’t leave but will cry to you about.
You’re nearly home from your job that covers the bills and the student loans (maybe), with just enough left to afford Pop Tarts and Easy Mac. At the mail box, what’s this? A card from Grandma. Oh yeahhh, it’s your birthday, today, isn’t it? You forgot, because you haven’t been on Facebook, all day. But this time, your card is empty. Suddenly, today feels more like April Fool’s Day. You’re learning a valuable lesson: adults don’t get birthday money from Grandma, anymore.
Silly, all you get is a gold-embossed card telling you you’re an awesome grandchild. Of course you are.
Tired, you plop yourself down on that garage-sale plaid couch, because IKEA is too far away and too expensive to ship. There’s nothing great on televsion, because you’re an adult. You’ve got your choice of reality television showing semi-attractive non-actors playing themselves. Or else it’s some medical drama that looks half like the final days of E.R, and half like CSI without Grissom and Warrick, which means it pretty much sucks. That new Survivor location looks a whole lot like the one from last season (and the one before, and the one before…).
Adult cartoons are too satirical to be funny for fun’s sake, and comedy shows are excuses to spoof political figures for viewers who don’t watch real news.
That’s adult life.
Next up: settling down and having kids who will be just like you, which keeps you up all night when you realize it’s mid-July but you can’t go hang out at the pool, today, because you’re an adult.
Kids: enjoy being kids. Act your age now, because you’ll be an adult, forever.
Being mature “for your age” doesn’t mean you’re mature; it just means you’ve got a few more drops of wisdom than those yahoos you see now, who come over, eat your parents’ food, and spell “a lot” as one word.
Parents, than you for telling them that life will never be the same once they can no longer get away with egging someone’s house without first having a law degree, or a state Senator on speed dial.