Having raised a houseful and community of millennials as mom and mentor for many years, I have come to appreciate how much we can learn from one another.
In my youth, profanity seemed less prevalent in general, and by no means did “F” bombs frequently pepper the halls of schools. Of course, consequences were far different back then. To say that censorship for tender ears is a challenge – well, that’d be a gross understatement. Now as a mentor of many millennials, I have found the power of one four-letter word that renders most “twenty-somethings” into a tail spin, eye-glaring reaction similar to the appalling shock of my grandmother when she heard a curse word on TV for the first time. I have found the ultimate four-letter word that will stop a conversation or escalate millennial adrenaline in an instant. I must confess that an occasional chuckle escapes when I think of what this one little word meant to me at that time in life. This four letter word drives millennial nuts…
An indignant reaction is sure to follow the foreign concept that they should “WAIT.” As a teacher, the experience of “edutainment” (or entertaining education for me) results in eye rolls, ghastly sounds of disapproval, sometimes followed by moans and flailing. These reactions communicate the utter fear of losing any tech-time, as all handheld devices or total technology are denied or removed in order to focus. For a student it seems like an eternity to actually have to “wait.”
Almost as offensive is the compound word “UNPLUG,” meaning to go without technology and actually remain alive “off the grid.” Oh believe me, on more than one occasion was there a need for me to assure the beloved millennial that they would live and breathe without any form of “internet technology.”
Then it occurred to me, what was once commonplace adjustment to technology for mine and previous generations inadvertently led to unforeseen neglect and failure to train a generation to appreciate the value of a good wait. In short, “wait” is not only profanity to the millennial, it is also a foreign concept for today’s rising workforce! It is time to be honest; adaptation to technology made it far too easy to become lax in what kids really need. It takes tough love, joy, peace, patience and interaction to develop communication skills required for lifelong marriages, along with the ability to reasonably implement waiting when necessary.
Convenience creates impatience
The convenience of technology has pacified more than just kids in the back seat. By default, it has modeled and trained a generation to demand instant gratification. At some point, a generation of busy and distracted adults were unwilling to exercise “tough love” or the discipline that teaches necessary coping skills for life. The lesson here: there will be times when it is necessary to wait. Unfortunately, as handheld devices continue to replace human interaction, subsequent generations will keep believing that there is greater reward in not “waiting.”
Patience actually saves precious time – and lives
Every time a handheld device is presented in place of conversation, it communicates that technology is more important than human interaction. Family car rides and road trips were once a chance to make memories and build relationships, but now they’re more about leveling up on Pokémon Go or posting photos on the latest app. It seems that younger generations are risking more than family bonding; how is one supposed to learn that waiting to text while driving is a better alternative than risking lives?
Indeed, one of the greater challenges of millennials is that growing up in a push-button society of convenience creates inability to comprehend the value of a good wait.
The importance of discipline
Discipline is the persistent training toward a desired goal or behavior based on morals rather than fear. A disciplined child knows not to yell at his teacher because he understands it’s wrong, not because he’s simply afraid of punishment. Similarly, well-adapted young adults have learned that “wait” is not profanity nor a prison sentence; it is a life skill.