Comparing generations
Sipho Yanano comes from a generation where children were 'seen and not heard'. He thinks this generation is better off.
(Getty Images)
When I compare my generation’s childhood (those 30 and above) to today’s kids’ I wonder: Are these kids better off than we were at their age?

My parents raised me not to question authority. If my mom asked me to jump I never asked: 'How high Ma?' I just jumped. My dad's instructions were perfect law. Unquestionable. Until my early 20s I rarely challenged my parents' directions.

Fast forward a few decades later and times are different. I know a six-year-old boy who won't take instructions from his parents without asking questions like: 'Why should I do that?' I grew up in an environment where kids were seen and not heard and I concluded that the boy's parents spoiled him by entertaining his constant inquisitiveness especially after they gave him chores to do.

After some thought I realised that my childhood fear of authority had stayed with me until adulthood and has had its disadvantages.

For example I had difficulty confronting a boss who I felt paid me an unfair salary. At the back of my mind I felt I had no right confronting him because he was figure of authority. It took a lot of guts for me to negotiate for a higher salary.

I can not the imagine that inquisitive little boy cowering when treated unjustly as an adult. Perhaps the boy’s parents are doing a great job training him to stand up for himself.

Being taught to ask 'why?'

Every child should be taught to question instructions that they get from adults - especially those adults who are not the child's parents. This could even help the child fight against any potential abuse by another child or adult.

I'm blown away by the level of general knowledge some of today's children display. Advances in technology (television, internet, etc.) bombards your child with so much information which some of us never thought possible when we were younger. Children today are so much more aware of the world around them, thanks to all this information, and this can surely only benefit them?

In my opinion, being taught how to question authority and stand up for themselves means that this generation is better off.

The downside

These advances in technology have come at great cost to our kids though. Cyber-bullying, time wasted accessing social networks and violent video games are only the beginning. I was shocked when a South African teenage girl confessed on television that some of her fellow schoolmates download internet porn and watch it during class!

Some unruly kids bring alcohol to school in their cooldrink bottles and some have the audacity to sell drugs to school peers. This kind of
behaviour was unthinkable during my time and yet today's child has overcome all these challenges.

Looking at all of the consequences, I can only think that in this regard my generation was better off.

I’ve come to the conclusion that today's kids are better off than we were because humanity has come a long way in improving child rearing. 

Normal parents want their kids to experience a better childhood and future than the one they had. Many parents are turning this wish into a reality by giving their children excellent care. We can only hope these kids will grow up into adults who are a better generation than ours.

Do you agree with Sipho? Do you think this generation is better than the one before it?

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