Insanity has long been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Examples abound in Washington, D.C. (see: Congress), Valley Ranch (see: Jerry Jones) and pretty much every corporate boardroom in the world (see: whichever company I have stock in).
Insanity surrounds us all. Gobble down burgers, fries and Diet Cokes at every meal and then complain about why you can’t seem to drop any lbs. Continually get passed over for promotions because you continually turn your work in late — and with really terrible punctuation — and wonder why. Refuse to take a golf lesson despite shooting your weight every weekend. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Steve.
As a parent, insanity just comes with the territory. Why else would we expect our kids to be any different from the millennials we cuss under our breath? Yet we are the main reason they’re headed in the same direction.
Yes, like everyone reading this sentence, I generally dislike the millennial. I say this without any fear that a millennial is reading this column, since I know they only read their Instagram feeds and the menu at Starbucks. Oh, and Us Weekly.
Millennials drive all of us crazy, because their communications skills are nonexistent, their writing skills are borderline illiterate, they require double digit pats on the back before lunch, and want a pay increase and upgraded job title by the end of every business week. I hate you millennials with the heat of a supernova.
The insane part is that my kids are millennials in training. And they’re training with steroids that I’m supplying (not literally, of course).
Every time I get into a discussion with one of my peers about how ill-prepared millennials will be in the work force, I think about the iPhone and the 23 hours per day my daughter and her friends spend flipping pages on some new social media app.
Every time I talk with a millennial and explain to them that it’s important to dress for the job you want not the job you have, I think about my 9-year-old son receiving a baseball trophy for his team finishing with two wins and 12 losses. Can you say entitlement?
Every time I shake my head as I get cut off in traffic by some millennial driving a trendy Land Cruiser while sipping a grande latte, I think about my daughter sitting up at Starbucks on Friday night for five hours with her freshmen buddies and me being OK with it since I want her to “fit in.”
What the heck am I doing? What are any of us doing? Occasionally, I’ll meet a parent who seems to have it all figured out. No TV past 7pm and no video games ever. Reading is required every night (books without pictures and with multisyllable words). No sugary snacks. Only one sport per season. Charity work every month. And they must learn a foreign language and play a musical instrument before they turn 13. Then again, those kids usually turn out really weird and have no friends. So as effective as it sounds, I end up just handing my son the remote and a Diet Dr Pepper.
But no more.
I’m turning a new leaf, making a pact with myself. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more Mr. Get Along. No more Mr. Rogers. I’m drawing a line and promising myself not to cross it again. We’re supposed to get our kids ready to leave the house and not depend on us forever. I know that sounds rough, but it’s the truth. We have only 18 years to get them prepared for a world that will chew them up and spit them out if they stay on the current path. It’s up to me to toss a fork in the road.
Whew, that felt good. Very refreshing. So did that fix everything? Yeah, didn't think so. Bummer.
Wish it were that easy. But we all know better. I’ve got to be the change agent my kids really need despite their inevitable protest marches and food strikes.
I encourage each of you to follow my lead. I’ll take the first step. I promise. Who’s with me? Hello? Anyone there? I know it won’t be easy. But if we don’t work together, we’ll all fail. Sure, I can make my daughter actually talk to me at dinner instead of taking the 52nd selfie of the day. But, if you don’t do the same, it won’t matter. She’ll eventually see that all of her friends have updated selfies and then I’ll have a selfie revolt on my hands. And we all know that won’t be pretty.
So I need everyone on the same page. Everyone on the right bus with me. If we do this together, we can rid ourselves of another generation of millennials and save America at the same time.
Rudy lives in Flower Mound, sells stuff to make the house payment, spends weekends on dusty ball fields and recently had a GPS chip attached to his daughter. Follow him on Twitter: Manifesto10.
Published July 2014