Sunday, May 19, 2013

My rights, your rights, our rights - and where are we headed?

A million years ago, as a new parent with a toddler, I went to a church class on parenting. Don't remember a whole lot about it, except for the issue of rights.

This was the late 1980s. The person leading the class started talking about rights. About how in the 1950s and 1960s the fight was for Civil Rights - ok, that fight started a lot earlier and lasted for a long time. (And isn't over.)

Then came the fight for women's rights (employment, sex, abortion - all those parts of the women's rights).

Then, right on the heels of that, gay rights. (Again - not done).

So, the children who grew up in the 1980s have that as a history: seeing all of these groups fight for their rights. The person leading this group, talking about my toddler and the other toddlers, said we should prepare ourselves for the idea that these children will grow up demanding their rights - without understanding what it means to the groups that came before them.

And we are there. I have kids tell me they have rights - the right to go to the restroom whenever they want (even when we both know it isn't the bathroom but wandering the halls that they want.) Or they have the right to text whoever, whenever. Or they have the right to be entertained in class. ("You need to make games, We need a fun project to do. When will I ever use this? Find something more relevant. You need to address my learning style.")

And no where in the discussion is responsibility. I can't do a project if you do not have the skills to do the project. When I do a game, only some participate.

And the talking. You cannot hear what is said if you are talking. And the responsibility for passing - why is it mine, not yours?

There is an upsurge now in talks about more vocational training and less of a push toward college. And there is an upsurge in the talk about increased length of adolescence.

But we can hand off things - until the people we are handing them to accept the responsibility - where do we end up?

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