I was talking with a woman lately about young people today and she said that they are all so dependent on their cell phones that they no longer seem able to figure anything out on their own. If they have someone to meet at the airport for instance they simply call on their cell phones to see where to meet up. (In truth this is a wondrous tool and saves much angst and frustation)
If they have a flat tire they call someone to help rather than having to learn to change a tire by themselves. Again this can be a life saver. I am all for it.
But all this connectedness also breeds a sense of helplessness if something goes wrong. They are so used to being able to connect that if the cell phone is dead or missing they simply cannot deal with subsequent difficulties.
Is there an answer to this new set of complications to growing up American? Perhaps summer camp is a good solution. But of course not all children have the resources to be able to go to an outdoor camp and learn a few survival techniques.
For those who are forced to fall back on their own abilities it is very useful to be able to read. And many of today’s high school students are woefully lacking in reading skills. They can push numbers of a phone, tapping only ten digits does not take a great depth of knowledge. But if they really do not know how to do something, how can they gain the confidence to try it on their own?
Only time will tell if todays young people will be able to gain that confidence which once was inherent in growing up. Being able to depend on oneself and KNOW what one is capable of is the sign of maturity that will allow them to go on to the next step, social maturity. It is vital that they learn that their own instincts and their own innate desires are to be trusted. Yet in order for this to be true they need a moral compass and the experiences both good and bad that teach self reliance. One hopes that in spite of all pervasive TVs, video games and pocket computers they are secretly gaining a sense of self worth. We need to hope for the best. The future of the world depends on it.