Adult Reality Check 101  

'Occupy' boomer parents to blame

Society is facing a problem with young people not stepping up constructively to take part in solving society’s issues; voting, getting involved in politics, school boards, or community service are examples. The weight is still being carried by an older demographic. So how did so many young adults become so ambivalent towards social responsibility? Obviously it’s the manner in which some parents raised them. With increasingly shocking examples of young adult backlash, either physical or political we have a serious and sometimes deviant group on our hands.

It’s easy for people to point out the obvious and focus on the demonstrators who seem able to “live” in a tent city 24/7, seem to not be employed, and appear to be unemployable by attire and personal grooming preferences. But where did these values come from? Family life and the their parents are the focal point we should really be looking at.

The mantra - I want, specifically I want change now, resonates closely with the values of their upbringing. What they really NEED, but really don’t WANT, is to start at the bottom, work hard, long hours, and with due diligence they will persevere to a place in life where they can make change. As did the boomer parents, who have persevered and now enjoy the perks of a pension, the security, and soon retirement. Sure it’s taking longer, but that’s what defines the boomers - they're not quitters and will continue to finish what they started, even if it’s uncomfortable to work a longer career than expected.

However, a lot of boomers can take direct responsibility for this generation; for coddling, enabling and condoning obvious freeloading principles. Many young adults have been allowed to live at home, to not attain meaningful employment, to continue to be career students, and couch surf, all from the comforts of mom and dad’s basement. Parental indifference, ambivalence and self-serving benevolence are to blame for not getting them out of the house and on the road to responsibility.

These parents have accepted the excuses, taken the soft road, and have enjoyed the personal and sometimes financial perks, thus becoming "enablers" to their adult children not becoming successful, in any meaningful adult growth. How embarrassing it must be to have adult children living at home in a world of such varied opportunity.

Complaints about boomers clogging up the work force, leaving no jobs available, and minimal opportunities abound in the media.  They are all convenient excuses for young adults, but hardly a constructive argument. Many issues in the world aren’t fair, and the generations ahead of GEN X&Y faced many challenges, as tough or tougher than today’s young adult’s face.

By focusing solely on the rioters of the Stanley Cup, or the protesters of the Occupy Movement we are limiting ourselves by not exploring the real reason behind their motivations, behaviours, and actions. Convenient for the irresponsible parents who have burdened society with slacker adults because they didn’t do a good job in the first place; teaching the values, ethics, morals, goals, and ideals that would have given their children the grounding to achieve, the confidence to move out, and the tools to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

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About the Author

Jeff Hunkin is a 47-year-old Community Service Worker working with autistically challenged male adults in Vernon. The son of a retired Edmonton city policeman, Hunkin was raised and educated in both BC and Alberta. Hunkin continued his studies of the Human experience for over 10 years, in 7 provinces, 3 states, 15 cities and at least a 100 postal codes.

At times he has known the privilege of materialistic wealth and at others lived in a world of harsh poverty.  He has loved and lost more than most people see in a lifetime, he has been a free, happy and unbridled spirit, yet for a period of time, imprisoned within the depths of depression, all the while studying and observing the human experience unfold before him.

Hunkin's subjects are the very topics we usually discuss in our staff rooms, coffee shops or dinner parties. For whatever reason; being fear-based, being politically correct, or just no mainstream media theatres of discussion, these subjects rarely see the ink of print. HER side, his side, their side, your side, you may not like it, but someone will. Hunkin will take it, talk about it, run with it, roll with it, and see where it takes us all.

If you want to contact Jeff Hunkin about this week's column please e-mail - [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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