It is a recurring mistake that young people think their experience is so unique, the pressures so unprecedented. When I say recurring, I mean for the last couple of thousand years, since young people began leaving written complaints that old people just don’t understand the pressures…
Different pressures, sure. I never faced bullies on facebook. I only had to fight them in meatspace with actual fists. I didn’t have to figure out my smartphone as a teen. I did figure out how to get a VCR to stop flashing 12:00. Similarly, I can neither milk a cow, harness a horse, nor fire a smooth-bore musket to get my supper. So what? Learning these things is the same, no matter the thing.
Every generation faces similar problems; living on their own resources, facing scarcity, building adult relationships, finding a job with no experience, learning to operate the gadgets that are shiny during their youth, yearning for more. It is the height of arrogance, and so typical of the young, to assume that their experience is special, so that neither advice nor judgement may be applied to their situation.
Are today’s pressures really worse than (just for instance, because this list is endless)
- Standing in a bread line or walking out of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression?
- Watching a column of jack-booted Nazis march into your town?
- Losing your entire livelihood (and that of your whole city) forever to automated weaving looms?
- Being the only survivor of the Black Death (or Ebola for a current example) in your extended family?
As the young say, “Whatever, dude.”