My crowd, my old coot crowd to be specific, is critical of the Z Generation (people born between 1996 and 2010). We don’t call them Gen-Zers; we simply refer to them as today’s kids.
It’s a generational thing, for the old to criticize the young. Probably because we are jealous of their youth. They aren’t jealous of anything about us. Anyhow, this attitude of, “The worlds going to pot,” (because of the kids who will soon be running things) has been around for a long time. Even Cicero, the famous Roman Politician and scholar, was dismayed at the attitudes and actions of the youths of his day. He argued that they needed vigorous ethical and moral instruction if civilization were to continue.
That was 2,000 years ago; I’m sure the attitude goes back even further than that. Cavemen, most certainly, were critical of the behavior of teenagers in their day. “Look at that fool kid going out on a date and forgetting to bring his club!”
Today’s criticism is focused on Gen Z’s excessive multitasking. Doing too many things at once and not doing justice to any of them.
“Look at that kid! He’s doing his homework; his Geography book is open and he’s glancing at it, but he’s also listening to loud Rap music, texting back and forth to his girlfriend, checking his Twitter and Snapchat feeds, munching on a burger and conversing with a study mate across the room. That’s not how we did it in my day!” (Old coots often remember things the way they wish they were, not the way they actually were.)
Anyhow, it’s a foolish criticism coming from someone of my generation. We’re the masters of multi-tasking!
When I, or one of my kind, head out the door, to a coffee shop in the morning, for example, it requires the juggling of several critical tasks.
Task #1 – We have to remember why we went out the door and where we are headed. Otherwise, we’ll stand there, stuck in place like the needle in a worn groove on a record (try to explain that one to a Gen-Zer).
Task #2 – As we step onto the sidewalk we have to check and keep checking our balance and, Task #3, pick up our left foot a little higher than normal so it doesn’t cause us to stumble. It’s been a little floppy lately.
Task #4 – We have to focus on walking in a straight line. If we don’t, we’ll wander from one edge of the sidewalk to the other in a pattern that might provoke a cop to arrest us for public intoxication.
We multitask to such a degree, it’s no wonder we appear daffy to others. It helps explain why, when you pass us on the sidewalk, we never call you by name. Instead, you get,” Hi lady” or “Hi neighbor” or “Hello Governor, “ or some such cover up for a memory lapse; you rarely get called by name.
Maybe, on a day when the floppy foot isn’t acting up, but we’d probably just replace that memory task with another one – that dentist appointment we have at 2 p.m., or a reminder to call Bill about the change in the golf schedule next week. Everyone needs to stop criticizing teenagers for multi-tasking. They will need the skill when it’s their turn in line for the early bird special.
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