The Coddled Generation

It is amazing, even among conservative parents, how spoiled children can be.
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On this coddled generation business, you know, I’m a Baby Boomer, and I can tell you, I don’t know about… Well, yeah, I can pretty much say that of the people I knew growing up, which was in a small Midwestern town, nobody was coddled. But the Baby Boom generation did coddle its kids, does coddle them or did, and I don’t know why. I mean, you can maybe think about it. “Well, crime was rising and there became a little bit…”

Like my parents were never afraid to let us go play outside all day! There was no need for anything like the Amber Alert or any of that kind of thing. But most of the people I know of in my generation were not coddled. I certainly wasn’t. Jeez. I have used this phrase often, but I’ll basically just review it very quickly. I think the Baby Boom generation had to invent its traumas to tell itself how tough life was.

As children of the World War II generation, our parents and grandparents, now, they had it tough — at least the way I look at it. They had the Great Depression, they had World War II, they had Korea. They took very seriously when Khrushchev comes over, bangs the shoe and says, “We will bury your grandchildren!” They took it seriously. When they were in their teenage years, they knew that the world was about much more than just them, that there were things larger than themselves.

Hillary Clinton, for example, a Baby Boomer, admitted she didn’t realize that ’til she was in her forties. I think that Baby Boomers had to go out and invent all of these traumas. Oh, they had crappy technology. I saw a graph over the weekend. Aw, jeez, I didn’t print it; I don’t have it right in front of me. But it’s a stunning graph about technology. The telephone took decades to reach 90% saturation. The smartphone, the iPhone, has reached full saturation in the country in two years, as opposed to 30.

The technological differences are vastly different from what the Baby Boomers had and compared to what their parents and grandparents had. So I don’t think as a kid I had it anywhere near as tough as my dad did growing up, or his father. That’s just an honest assessment. When my dad was 40, that was it. His life was set, and in his mind it was set — and back then if you hadn’t done what you were gonna do by 40, it wasn’t gonna get done. It was just the way things were.

It was also true that they didn’t let you earn any money until you were 40 in those days. You had to show your worth, you had to prove your responsibility before anybody would pay you any serious money. It took a long time to become successful. All of that’s changed now, it’s different, and I’m a talking about trying to go back to that. I’m just cataloging the differences. But I don’t think there’s any question, folks, that the public school curricula and…

I mean, these things, we always laughed at ’em when they were happening. We’d hear about a school that had a football team that beat its rival 55 to nothing so they stopped keeping score. We laughed about it, but the fact is it happened, and it happened in a lot of places, and it obviously had influential aspects to it. We were laughing at it. I was laughing. “Oh, that’ll never become mainstream.” But it has, is the point.



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