I managed to catch up with some colleagues this evening. Firstly, run, do not walk to Amazon and download the or acquire The Hunger Pains. Got it for son one today, who is quietly cackling behind me as he works through the puns. The Hunger Games was a set text for him last year… and as a late Gen Y / millennial, he hated. it.
Harvard Lampoon have taken quite a silly trilogy and skewered it. Support them. Laughter is the best destroyer of memes.
But… the education system is falling apart. From the Ben Stein in the American Spectator:
An astonishing lunch with my old pal A. He has just been through a painful divorce and a bitter child custody battle. The legal fees alone were over half a million. He has to pay for his legal fees and his ex-wife’s. Now, he has 50 percent custody of the child, but the public schools in his neighborhood have pretty much stopped operating. The closest one to his home only operates from 8.30 to 11.30 each day. If the parent wants the kid to go to school onger for better classes, it’s greatly added fees for Mom and/or Pop. How did that happen? Where did that come from? Is this all because of failing revenue in California? Then how do police sergeants retire on $300,000 a year? How does that work out?
It looks like we are going to have two classes of children: those who can afford private education (home-schooled or private schools) and those who have no education. The State, at least in California, is out of the business: Now.. that police sergeant is a boomer, unionized, and does not care about the next generation. His kids through, and his grand kids no longer live there… or Grandpop is paying for them to go private.
The trouble for my generation (the Gen X | late boomers) is that we are dealing with teenagers around now. And some of our kids are going feral. The solo Dads I know (and being one, I know a few) are finding that they are not necessarily getting support from the mothers of their child.
The problem is now structural. About one in five boys and two in five girls don’t get into work.. In fact the female youth work participation rate is around the same as the total female work participation rate — and that includes women raising children (that work is not seen as bringing in a wage).
The young, particularly the very young, are not being supported by the old. Young parents are not being supported by their parents — in part because they have had to move to get work, or been posted far away. (Which is my case: I have to travel half way around the world to visit — something I can not do that often). And Skype does not replace being there. Quality time does not replace a quantity of time.
As I am writing this — it is pizza night in hour household — I am thinking of some one (quite young) who desperately wants to be a mum. But she does not have a clue. She can’t look after herself. She does not have homemaking skills. The average Mommy blog intimidates this Solo Dad with the concentration of domestic beauty… even though I can cook, tidy and clean. But many of our younger people lack even thses skills.
The true new generation gap is not material. It is ignorance.