The gap between a generation of people and its preceding generation widens with each successive generation. I blame the advancement in technology. Some of us are lucky enough to have parents that have somewhat kept up-to-date on the newest of innovations. Most of us, however, are not that lucky. It seems like such a benign thing, but in reality most of us live in entirely different worlds from those that raised us.
We were brought up differently because our standards of living were, for the most part, better than the standards of living that raised our parents. We grew up with something we like to call convenience. If we are hungry, we have a fridge and freezer stocked with food. If we are thirsty, we can walk over to the sink and get water. If we are bored, we turn on the TV and stare at the box for hours on end. Convenience has been the key selling factor for the last few decades. We now have access to the entire world from our fingertips. We are the generation that likes to be spoon-fed. Our parents were never even given spoons to begin with; they had to use their hands.
I haven’t always gotten along very well with my parents. Growing up I was a bit of a prick — not to say that I can’t be one now from time to time. I was recently thinking about how the relationship that I have with them has gotten better over the last year and how the dynamics within the family have changed to the point where I am now considered the head of the household. I’m not going to lie…it’s a bit weird. Nevertheless, you do what you have to do. That’s what got me thinking about how different I am from my parents.
Although they raised me, my way of thinking and looking at the world differs greatly from their perspectives. A lot of people worry that they will grow up to be too much like their parents, picking up all the traits and tendencies they swore to themselves they would never adopt. I, on the other hand, worry that I may grow up and be nothing like my parents.
My parents are genuinely good people — through and through. They of course have their flaws — as we all do — but still, they are good people. And to think that I am nothing like the good people that raised me can be offsetting. Then it hit me. There is one area in which my parents and I are very much alike. There is one thing that they taught me — which was difficult for me to pinpoint because it was never put into words, only shown in action. My parents taught me to work.
I am sure many of you have parents with similar rigorous work ethics. Parents that spent more time on their careers or businesses than they spent teaching you how to ride a bike. My parents have a work ethic like no other — both of them. How many people do you know that were able to work 7 days a week for 15 years? Seems almost impossible…but it’s not; it’s been done. I have proof. Compare the way that your parents work and the amount of time and thought they put into their work to the amount of time and effort you put in.
Most of you will believe that your working habits are up to par with those of your parents. Most of you are delusional. That is the problem with Generation-Y; we believe ourselves to be capable of producing marvels — yet we never actually move ourselves to produce them. We believe that we can succeed in anything — which is true — but we don’t succeed in doing sh*t. We think very highly of ourselves, but have no way of backing up what our mouths run. Not only that, we don’t give credit where it’s due. We believe we are better than our parents because we were raised by them to believe that the world can be ours. However, we are too lazy to take what could be ours.
Many of our parents are immigrants that came here on a borrowed dollar and a suitcase full of dreams. They worked because they had to in order to survive. They didn’t mind working because they knew that if they wouldn’t work, then they wouldn’t eat. They had no one to fall back on — no safety net. Their only options were to either work as hard and for as long as necessary, starve to death, or go back to their home countries where the living conditions were unbearable. Most of our parents came from countries where having a hearty dinner every night was not possible.
Many of our parents came from countries where walking on the streets after a certain hour almost certainly meant that you would be robbed, raped or killed. Our parents lived in a different time — a time where everyone was looking out for only themselves and the idea of working towards a better world was not something feasible. Our parents had no choice but to work; so they did.
Millennials, on the other hand, generally have it much better (especially those living in more modern countries). If we don’t want to work then we can usually get away without working. We can piggyback our way through life, having our parents sweat and bleed for our benefit. Many, if not most, do just that. We don’t feel a need to put in the work and effort because we are not risking starvation. Most of us don’t have wives or children as of yet — how old were your parents when they had their first kid? How old were they when they got married?
Was your mother able to work or did your father have to work to support you all? Your parents had no choice but to get their hands dirty and get the job done. Most of you are reaping their benefits and taking it easy. But what’s wrong with that? Why not take it easy and enjoy life? Human beings have rights, but they also have responsibilities.
We have responsibilities to our families, to our friends and to strangers. We have responsibilities to ourselves. If you are not doing something productive with your life then you are being a selfish asshole. You are literally using everyone and everything around you and not bothering to give anything back, to contribute. You are living a life that — to be quite honest — is not worth living.
Your parents worked their asses off to make life better for you. I’d like to think that most of them succeeded; now you are going to go and screw it all up. You are going to reverse all of their efforts by not making an effort yourself. Your children will have it harder because you are lazy and all the tears that your mom and dad spilled over the years will amount to nothing.
All it takes is one generation to screw it all up, one bad link in the chain that is our lineage. Our parents worked to survive and because of their efforts, we are now able to put our work towards greater efforts. We can work to make our dreams come true. We can work to make the dreams of others come true. We can work so that Sally can have something to eat today and so that Tim can get his first drink of clean water this week. We can work to progress the human race and raise the living standards of the world as a whole.
The question that remains is whether raising everyone’s living standard will increase progress or bring it to a halt. What we can all agree upon by taking a look at those around us and ourselves is that people like comfort. We don’t want to work too much because we would rather just relax. If hardship is the only efficient human motivator, then hardship will need to remain a part of our world culture in order for humanity to make progress.
How stupid does that sound? Because we are lazy, the world will always have to revert to difficult times solely to remind us that good things don’t just happen — that we have to make them happen. Because we are unwilling to work, we trap humanity in this cycle of perpetual havoc and misfortune. This is difficult to see now, but history will show that progress is made only when a solution is necessary. You have to have a problem in order to make a solution. As the living standard of the world rises, our comfort rises.
Problems diminish and the feeling of a need to work and be productive slowly fades away. Logically, the world will have two options: either work because you want to work or create problems that need fixing. You can feel free to create problems and misfortune for others, which is exactly what you are doing by being lazy, even if only indirectly. I’ll do my part to fix your f*ckups.
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