Monday, March 5, 2007

Who's to Blame for Bored Teens?

Recently we had a terrible tragedy in our area. Nine people, eight of them teenagers and the ninth a 23-year-old adult who was driving (and was allegedly drunk), were packed into a car that crashed in the middle of the night, killing four of the teens. A fifth died a few days later.

It turned out these kids were out looking for 2 in the morning. A local reporter who is the father of five children has written several columns about this terrible event. In the first, he suggested that parents need to crack down on their kids, and that there's no need for them to be out at that hour. In today's column, he shares a message he received from a 19-year-old reader, who says kids are out running around in the middle of the night because they're bored, and because today's adults won't provide them with places where they can hang out with their friends. He goes so far as to blame today's adults for the accident.

Obviously the accident was the fault of the driver, not adults who won't let them go tobogganing (an example the 19-year-old uses). But the point he makes about there being "NOTHING to do" says more about some of today's youth than anything we adults could say about them.

At 19, I was in college and working to pay for college. So was my husband. My father was in the Air Force at 19, my mother was in nursing school, my father-in-law was in college and my mother-in-law was working as a secretary and planning her wedding. We were all too busy to need to be entertained.

Isn't it ironic that with all the entertainment we have available in today's world, there are young people who demand to be given something to do? What has made these kids think that the world owes them anything, much less entertainment?

This young man also says, "That’s why so many kids do drugs and drink and set things on fire etc.; they’re all just bored!" Being bored is no excuse for doing those things, and in a world where there is so much work to be done, there is no excuse for being bored.

1 comment:

Dana said...

I have to agree with the kid. OK, not exactly, and he'd not agree with me for sure.

But the kids are "bored" and expect entertainment to be delivered to them. In our culture bent on preserving youth and giving our kids what we never had, we forget about those formative moments that helped us "grow up."

Working full time to put myself through college probably did not put me at the envy of my classmates, especially as I showed up to class groggy and talking about some drunk who crashed into the building rather than groggy with a hangover and talking about whatever said person did not remember.

But I wasn't bored. And many of my classmates were, "challenging" themselves with increasingly stupid things to keep the thrill. And I think it is because most of their lives they had been given entertainment by their parents. Too much money and too little responsibility. Too much free time and not enough work.

I believe we were created to work, and while laziness is perhaps a great inspirer of new inventions, its close cousin, idleness, leads to a general dissatisfaction with life.