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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Growing Pains: Is there a REAL difference between the youth of today and the youth of "yesterday??"

"It takes a village to raise a child."
-African Proverb

Before you read this point, take a moment and marinate on the difference between THIS young lady and THIS one. Got it? Ok lets move on.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s I was taught that it was wise to respect everyone in your community. Further, your reputation and the reputation of your family will precede you so you should behave accordingly. This meant that when your parents were not around, the community stepped forward to enforce home training. If your parents were lax in their home training there was always someone there to keep you in line. Girls were corrected when caught behaving "unladylike" and boys were straightened when they got out of line.

Need examples? Here are 5 things considered "unladylike":
1. Showing your undies. I can live in pure bliss not knowing whether you chose to go with a thong, boyshorts, or granny panties to match your red bra. No really, I can.
2. Getting so drunk in public that your friends have to literally carry you your big a$$ to the car. We don't drink, we sip. This also encompasses a restraint on vomiting in public and knowing when enough is enough.
3. Walking barefoot. I don’t care how bad your feet hurt, NEVER under any circumstances are your bare feet to touch the pavement unless you are on the beach. 
4. Being heard calling yourself a Barbie before you are seen. Ladies are to be seen and not heard. Ladies don’t argue in public, especially with another woman over a situation wherein they recently discovered they share a man.
5. Sharing your personal business with everybody. Ladies dont kiss and tell everyone. Its nobody's business who you slept with last night keep your heauxx tendencies to yourself.  Keep your sexual indiscretions to yourself or you can't complain when people start treating you with disrespect and your female friends don't trust you alone with their men for more than 5 seconds.
"Children learn about the nature of the world from their family. They learn about power and about justice, about peace and about compassion within the family. Whether we oppress or liberate our children in our relationships with them will determine whether they grow up to oppress and be oppressed or to liberate and be liberated" -Desmond Tutu
I remember my great-grandmother telling me about how little girls could not show their knees in their dresses. The worst they worried about in high school was a boy running up and touching their butts. Gas was $0.13/gallon and children with $1 bills were ballers. They could not play outside if they wore a dress and they were not allowed to go out alone with boys unless they came inside to speak to her father first. This tradition is still alive and well in my family. This leads me to...

5 things a gentlemen should DO:
1. If you see a woman 5 steps behind you or struggling with groceries, show your pearly whites and politely offer to help her. If she declines and proceeds to make a fool of herself by dropping everything, then that’s her problem. You will receive good karma coins just for offering.
2. Men are well-mannered and polite to parents. This is true for my parents, your parents, his parents and her parents. Men respect their elders. Men respect the fathers of their women. 
3. Men take care of their children. Only cowards abandon their responsibilities.#TeamDadCamp
4. Men wear their pants on their waste. I'm not asking you to walk around with deodorant on your belt, but I don’t care to know whether you chose boxers or briefs today. Besides, you look like a fool with your pants on the ground!
5. Men take pride in their hygiene. If you have a unibrow, don’t be ashamed to get it waxed. Get regular pedicures and manicures. Wash your hair and take regular showers. I'm not asking you to wear pink or use a loofah, but put some effort into the way you look.
"Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Pr 22:6)
More after the jump.

Flashback: I once agreed to go out on a date with a guy who decided he would blow the horn and sit outside in his car. My father walked outside to wave him in. The poor fella called me to ask me to come outside. My father asked me to invite him in. When the guy refused the invitation, I told him how disrespectful he was and canceled our date. It was his loss. This may seem a little extreme but respect runs deep. If my father wants to have a conversation with you before you take his only daughter out on a date, I expect you to oblige. If you cannot respect my father, then I will not reward you with my time. This is true in my 20s and this will be true in my 30s, 40s and for as long as the lord blesses me with my father's life. Moving on...

A quick trip on the metro system showed me just how different times are. I sat next to a woman who was no younger than 80. To my left was a group of 6 middle school students engaging in the following debauchery:
Student #1: Listening to her iPod and rapping obnoxiously the Nicki Minaj verse of "my chick bad".
Student #2: Telling student # 3 about her tattoo ambitions which involve a "Barbie" tattoo on her neck and the name of her "future baby daddy" Carl on her thigh with a panther.
Student #3: Listening intently and giving feedback to student #2. She is wearing a mini skirt. Her underwear seem to be more of an accessory than an undergarment.
Student #4: Feeling up student #5's mini skirt.
Student #5: Making it visually apparent that she is enjoying being felt up in public
Student #6: Cursing loudly and harassing random yt people asking them if they like his braids. To my amazement, he leaned down and asked several people to touch them. He was serious. 

I was afraid for the children. At first I thought the older woman would scold them and tell them to stop acting like hoodlums. She never said a word. We shared a *look* and that was the end. I tried to imagine what I was like when I was their age. I wanted to apologize for their behaviors. I wanted to tell them to stop. I did neither. I felt like I failed the village. I exited the train shocked an appalled at their behaviors and at my lack of a reaction. I wondered if it was a sign of the times?

What say you oh talented ones? Has our society gone down the drain? Is this behavior normal for today's youth? Does the village still exist?

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