Monday, September 27, 2010

Expectations of Mediocrity

I don't get it. Why do we expect kids to act or dress a certain way just because other kids are acting or dressing that way?

I was recently involved in an online discussion regarding the way kids communicate with their abbreviated texting language. This "language" is spilling over into everyday life and becoming the norm. People have come to expect this from not only teens, but everyone.

It's kind of like fashion. Everyone wants to be hip and in style and make a statement, regardless of whether or not it looks good. Prime example: low-rise jeans. Why wear skin-tight, low-rise jeans if you have a big ol' muffin top hanging out from all sides? (Let's throw in a fitted t-shirt with that, too.) Because it's the fashion, right? But it doesn't look good. Trust me. It doesn't.

What I seem to find running rampant in our society is the expectation of mediocrity. Please know - I'm blessed to know many amazing families whose children are respectful, intelligent, well-spoken, well-dressed, etc., etc. - I'm not talking about them. :) I'm talking about the people/kids who talk, dress and act like... well... ignoramuses, fools and hoods (short for hoodlums). I honestly can't count the number of times I've gone into a store or restaurant and not been able to understand the employee, not to mention watched as they walked away while yanking up their pants. This is OK? For some, yes, it is. Because they've come to the point of not expecting more. "Well, this is the way it is now. I'll just have to accept it." Sorry, I'm not buying it.

This is one of the responses I posted in the online discussion:

"Why do teenagers/kids have to be like everyone else? Why can't they stand out amongst their peers and NOT write and communicate like imbeciles (regardless of texting language)? And parents who expect that of their children are setting them up for failure. I DO NOT expect my children to ACT like other people's kids just because everyone else is doing it. My friends' kids wear super short skirts and shorts because everyone else is doing it... sorry, not my kids! Skintight clothing and low-cut shirts? Nope, not my kids. Pants hanging down below the butt? Sorry, not gonna cut it. Oh, and I never spoke disrespectfully to an adult EVER as a child or teenager, my children don't either, and if they ever do, boy will there be some heck to pay! My children speak clearly, respectfully and look you in the eye when they speak. I would imagine my 10 year old has a better chance of landing a job than some teenagers. Again - why expect mediocrity?"

One parent's response was she was doing whatever she could to understand her teenager and her friends, and it seemed it also meant accepting behavior because everyone else her daughter's age does the same the same thing. I agree we need to work at understanding where our kids are at in their lives, but it doesn't mean accepting and condoning certain behaviors.

As a Christian mom, I know I hold my kids to a different standard than some other parents. I impress to my children that they should work as if working for the Lord, not men (Colossians 3:23). I also teach my children modesty, not only for self respect, but also to avoid tempting others and being a stumbling block to another (2 Corinthians 6:3). I know by many I'm seen as a prude, old fashioned or someone who isn't "in touch" with the times. As it turns out, I'm totally OK with that!

But here's the thing... I'm afraid that if our society continues on this path of mediocrity, we're going to end up like those in the movie, Idiocracy: a uniformly stupid human society devoid of individual responsibility or consequences. Sadly, I think we may get there sooner than most would like.