Child and Country A Book of the Younger Generation
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In seven large, nationally representative surveys of eight million American adolescents from to , fewer adolescents in recent years are having sex, dating, drinking alcohol, driving, working for pay and going out without their parents. Twenge argued that teens are more comfortable in their bedrooms or on smartphones or social media than at a party.
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While they are physically safer than past generations as a result, rates of teen depression and suicide are on the rise. But a number of social scientists and adolescent health researchers disagree with that conclusion. While teen depression and suicide rates are worrisome, there is no causal link to show those trends are the result of smartphones and social media. In the s we had a generation gap. What we have today is a generation lap — they are lapping their parents on the digital track. Mogel spoke with diverse kids from various regions and walks of life, but found herself consistently impressed by their thoughtfulness, how much they liked their parents, and how much they cared about the world around them.
Mogel said. Lythcott-Haims notes that the current crop of teenagers is the first generation to grow up with active shooter drills since kindergarten. All of the researchers agreed there is still much more to learn about this cohort, but what we know so far is promising.
I think these folks could turn out not to be just leaders, but to be a generation that we look back on and end up calling one of the greatest. Log In. Freud also helped create the culture of irony. He gave my generation the notion that underneath one idea is another, that behind our surface behavior is a different motive. Advertising also layers meaning in a way that teaches ironic thinking. There is an apparent message, and a subliminal message about something very different.
By now we all learn to think ironically.
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But many people older than a certain age grew up believing that the surface is all there is. The old, like the young, come in all varieties. However, differences aside, there are some things we can say about the old as a group. The old are segregated by interests, by history, by physical health, by attitudes about mental health, and by shared trauma.
They have in common three sets of experiences—they have participated in the events of the twentieth century, they have passed through the same developmental hurdles, and they now live in the landscape of old age. They have lived before television, cars, electricity, Playboy , and the Green Revolution.
Older African-Americans had parents who remembered slavery. Older Native Americans had relatives who fought in the Indian wars of the last century. Rural old men know how to mend harnesses, butcher hogs, build fences, cut hay, slice the testicles off a bull, and fix an engine.
Older women can bake, quilt, make soap, sew trousers, and doctor sick animals. Many of the old know how to play instruments, sketch portraits, and recite poetry. Older people have passed through seven of Erik Erikson's eight stages of development. Middle age is in the distant past. Most of the old have been parents and grandparents. They have lost parents, siblings, and friends. They have seen vigorous bodies grow frail, and active minds grow forgetful. In his book The Summing Up , Somerset Maugham noted that with old age, one is free of certain passions.
Most people become less sexual, less competitive, and less envious. Most people have figured out that life is tough for everyone. They tend to be kinder and more compassionate than they were as young people. Many are like Gladys, described below—as sweet as honey over sugar. Generally, the old like verbal and physical affection and, unlike the young, are under no illusion that they do not need love.
Gladys age 90 "TV is my best friend. Gladys was referred to my office by her family physician after she talked to him about what she called her "weird eye problem. The people on TV talked to her and sometimes even stepped out of the screen into her living room. Gladys knew these experiences weren't normal, but she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her. Gladys's son, Roger, drove her to my office.
Gladys dressed carefully in a mauve suit, a pink silk blouse, and a cluster of pink costume jewelry. She had sparkly blue eyes and soft, powdered skin etched with delicate lines. I invited Roger to come into the session, but he politely declined by saying he wanted his mother to have her privacy. I asked Gladys if she knew why she was here. She answered, "Aren't you a nerve doctor? Gladys shook her head in confusion, and I added, "We listen to people's problems and help find ways to solve them. I offered her some tea and asked about her situation.
She explained that her husband had died when she was in her sixties and that Roger was her only child.
When Gladys retired from the hospital where she cooked, Roger and his wife, Nell, had invited her to move to Nebraska. On their acreage, Roger and Nell had fixed her up a trailer with central air and a big-screen TV. Until Nell died, Gladys had been happy there. However, when she mentioned Nell, the sparkle left her eyes and her shoulders drooped.
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She told me that Nell had been a wonderful wife to Roger and a great daughter-in-law to her. They had canned peaches and chowchow, made slaw and homemade ketchup, and gone "garage saling" on weekends. Gladys boasted, "Nell could refinish furniture, sew a dress in a morning, and fix the plumbing in the afternoon.
When she was around, something was always going on.
However, Nell had died of breast cancer two years earlier. As she spoke of Nell's death, Gladys got a hanky out of her purse and wiped her eyes. Since Nell died, Gladys had been lonely. Roger was busy with his work for the railroad and sometimes gone for days at a time.
When he was home, Roger liked to putter around in his shop and garden. He made Gladys nice furniture, but he rarely ate with her. He believed in minding his own business. He was a big kidder, but, as Gladys said, "if he doesn't feel like answering me, he doesn't answer. Gladys also missed her granddaughter, Molly, who lived in Los Angeles with her husband and baby. Gladys was far from her friends in South Dakota, most of whom could no longer write her. She rarely left her trailer.
Her town had no public transportation, and she didn't ask her son for rides. She hated to bother Roger, who "works so hard and deserves a little peace and quiet when he's at home. Gladys told me how Nell had come over first thing every morning for coffee. She said, "We'd gab all morning long. I'd help her shell peas or cut corn. We'd think up mischief if there wasn't work to do.
Now days pass slowly, and at night I am tired. But I wonder why. I haven't gone anywhere or seen anyone. What have I done to tire myself out? To pass the time, she watched television. She said, without a trace of sarcasm, "TV is my best friend. I get sixty channels. While we talked about TV, Gladys brought up her "eye problem.
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I was grateful that her doctor had sent her to me instead of giving her tranquilizers or antipsychotic medications. I had a hunch we could treat this eye problem.
We scheduled another appointment, and I walked her back to Roger. He stood up immediately and gallantly helped Gladys with her coat.