American kids are not needed.
Other, poorer countries need their youth to become people who drive their society forward. They might encourage kids to become well-educated, that they might become doctors in a country of poor health technology, or politicians in a struggling, unpowerful country. Kids might be trained by their families to become the farmers to provide the crops that their town needs, or that their country needs to export. People have niches, and thus kids have planned futures. They are needed, their countries and families call them to their vocation.
American kids, however, are told from a young age "you can be anything you want to be". This is true - we have an unimaginable number of paths to choose from. We create our own destiny. The reverse, however, is also true. "You don't need to be anything you don't want to be." We don't need to be anything. Our country doesn't desperately need me, personally, to be anything. We've pretty much got all of our bases covered. So, why study if we don't necessarily have to be well-educated? Why work hard if we have another option? Why do anything if we are not obligated?
This is why we waste our lives on Facebook and in front of the TV and on blogger. We are not necessary. We are not being called by our society or our families or anyone. If I don't become a contributing citizen, the nation won't be horribly worse off for it. We don't feel that pull to succeed. Instead, we have the task of finding that perfect, worthwhile career. With a choice like this, it would be horrible to make the wrong one.
I'm not saying that we are too well-off to believe in work ethic. But from what I've observed, my generation doesn't know what to do, because we're supposed to do whatever we want to. I would never take any freedom for granted, but this complete free will can have its cons.
ramblings of a semester untold, III
5 years ago