25 March 2011

In addition to which, GET OFF OF MY LAWN!

This week I'm on Spring Break, and that means I have lots of time on my hands to look for the end of the Internet. This morning, while dutifully poring through pages and pages of "news", I came across a facebook conversation between two of my "friends". They were engaged in an Internet argument over this article.

Ok, for those of you who don't generally click on the links here at the BlazeBlog, you can just skip to the picture of the chimpanzee at the end of the post, because my entire purpose today is to attack the basic thesis of this article.

I'm going to assume that by this point you're either done reading that article or you're not going to read any of this, and you've already scrolled to the bottom. Good? Good.

So the basic thesis of the article is that it's not so bad that half of twenty-somethings are still supported in some way (housing, food money, tuition) by their parents when they're twenty-four. In fact, the hook of the article, and what I read to be the thesis, is that these "late bloomers" may be better off having leeched lived on their parents' dime. The article goes so far as to note, and I quote (because it is too ridiculous to ignore), "most are weaned from such support by their early thirties". Hang on, there's a blood vessel in my forehead that's about to burst.......

Ok, I went for a walk to bring my blood pressure back down. The life expectancy in this nation is in the mid 70's. If you don't move out of your parents house until you're thirty, you will have spent 45% of your life being supported by your parents. Assume that you work until you can draw social security at 65, and then you retire. That means you will spend 5 more years working than you did draining your parents.

A week ago, the BlazeBlog talked about how the Internet was infantizing our entire society. It seemed natural to blame the place that society demonstrates so many adolescent behaviors for those behaviors. However, this new knowledge (which I found on the Internet), suggests that parents, unwilling to see their children suffer, are at least partly to blame for the regression of society to a nation full of 13 year old boys. 

Think about it; parents don't have to accept these grown children (and their families) back into their household. Nevertheless, many parents do take their grown children back into their homes. Parents should assess the situation, and I believe in many cases, say "No".

I don't think it's uncommon for recent college graduates to spend a little time back at home after graduation. You should graduate at 22. You should be gone by 24, which is when, according to this story, 50% of children are still getting help from mom and dad! 


I understand that in all of these cases, there are what seem to be perfectly acceptable reasons to live at home. Tragedy strikes. The economy is in the crapper. Nevertheless, I find it hard to accept. I just can't fathom how these people can get help from mom and dad and still have Internet, data plans on their phones, children of their own. 

Many of these children, it is implied, are pursuing higher degrees. I have found that the majority of people who pursue higher degrees do so because they don't know what they want to do with their lives. Is this because their parents, now supporting them, never forced them to make hard decisions, and now they are paralyzed by indecision? I don't know, but I think that it's a decent thesis. 

This is a societal problem. We have the means to protect our children from any sort of pain, and want to do so. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this is admirable. Just because it's admirable doesn't make it the right thing to do. Your children need to, on occasion, suffer. They need to live in a crummy apartment, to have to figure out how to make tough financial decisions. By bailing them out, parents allow their children to both have and eat their cake. The problem comes when those children aren't eating their own cake, they're eating their parents' cakes.

No one thinks that being sore from going to the gym is bad. We can recognize that soreness as a sign of growth. We know that being sore is good, it means that we're improving. Somehow, parents need to recognize that their children need to experience that same kind of pain, perhaps fiscally instead of physically.

Now, these numbers and this article probably have massive problems. There are probably problems with the way the data is being presented. There are almost certainly problems with the sample size. Still, that half of the 24 year olds in this study were still receiving aid from their parents is crazy to me.

The worst part is that I might count. I was married at 25, and my parents presented us with a very gracious wedding gift. Would the study count that as "support"? I hope not. I lived at home for 4 weeks before I got my first teaching job, would that have counted?

You know what, I take it back. That's not the worst part. The worst part is the title of the story. "Gen Y not slackers, just slow starters." No, please, headline writer, go ahead and title this something that the story doesn't prove! After all, the story is about children not working hard and not being forced to struggle, why should you work hard?

And now, the promised chimpanzee picture:
 Your author, hard at work

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