Run, iGeneration Kid, Run!

The last time I checked, people waited for the bus; the bus didn’t wait for people. The bus has a schedule to keep. Riders check the schedule and then get themselves to the bus stop on time to catch the bus. Sometimes we may be early and have to wait a long time for the bus. Sometimes, we are late and miss the bus altogether; as in, it came and went before we even got to the stop. Other times, we see the bus at the stop before we actually get there, in which case we have to make a run for it. What has happened to this paradigm in regards to today’s youth?

Our story picks up with me driving on a two lane street in Anycity, U.S.A. A school bus is arriving at its designated stop and there are two tardy schoolgirls off in the distance. Once at a complete standstill, the doors fling open causing the red Stop sign to jut out into the street. It’s lights flash, demanding that all traffic freeze where it is, while the kids bustle onboard. A car pulls up and three more kids run over and hop on. Schoolgirl 1 and Schoolgirl 2 are still walking slowly toward the bus.

As the seconds tick by, more cars begin to line up on both sides of the road – behind the bus and in front on the opposite lane. The bus driver patiently holds the door open for the girls, who aren’t much closer to boarding the bus. One of the waiting cars honks its horn to speed up the process. The schoolgirls look over, then back to each other, and begin giggling; all the while strolling nonchalantly, as if everyone weren’t waiting on them. The car horn honks again, this time accompanied by another car horn and a “c’mon girls, you’re holding up traffic!” comment piercing the atmosphere.

Schoolgirl 1 looks toward the yelling driver, purses her lips and throws up the finger. That was it! I don’t care if I’m waiting in line in the middle of the street, I slam my car in park, get out and storm over to the pair.

“Excuse me! Young lady is your mother out here with you?” I ask firmly while looking around for an adult at the bus stop, any adult. Nothing.

“I don’t know why you think its OK to be disrespectful to that woman for telling you to move faster when you’re keeping her from getting to where she needs to go. How dare you stroll along when you see that bus and all these cars sitting here waiting for you! You’re lucky, ‘cause if it was me, you both would’ve been left!”

Middle finger girl gives me a defiant “who you talkin’ to?” look. That just sets me off even further.

“Oh really, that’s how you think this is going to go? Girl, please, I’m an adult; your little arrogant attitude is no match for me.” I walk over to the bus driver and tell him the girls won’t be riding today and that he can go. Which he does. He leaves them right there.

As the bus pulls away, I glare at the arrogant duo, daring them to say or do anything. Which they don’t.

“Now go on home and tell your parents how disrespect and complete inconsideration got you left behind.” With that, I walk back to my car and drive happily to work.

Pause for smiles of satisfaction. OK, you probably guessed that didn’t really happen. I mean the slow strolling preteens, their entitled and inconsiderate attitudes, and the fact that they were oblivious to the inconvenience they were inflicting on everyone else was quite real. Me acting out the fleeting thought in my head … not so much.

The truth is, I wouldn’t actually carry out that little scene in my mind, but sometimes it’s hard not to entertain it for a few moments. On a more serious note, our kids and teens need us to be examples of how to operate in this world. How we communicate, present and share information teaches them and gives us a firm foundation from which to discipline and set clear expectations.

There was a time when kids quasi-understood the sacrifices being made for their benefit. As such, they were more respectful and grateful. Today, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain self control in the face of an overly entitled and arrogant iGeneration … but alas, we must try.

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