Hey, You Kids! You’re All Right

The next generation shows empathy and kindness

Recently on a local page, a commenter said something like, “kids these days have no respect. If I’d have done that, I would have been beaten!”

This was said as a badge of honor.

Inspired, if that’s the right word, by that idea, I took to my own Facebook page and posted this:

“Controversial position: kids these days are *better* humans than kids in the past. No, they’re not all rotten little reprobates whose parents don’t know how to discipline them. They’re kinder than our generation, they’re more aware of how others can be marginalized, and they are striving to treat others more fairly. And no, you weren’t a better child because your parents ‘would’ve whipped ya’ if you made a mistake. You were an abused child.”

The comments that flowed in were so heartening, and so positive, and so affirming that I thought well heck, this seems like an Iowa City Moms blog post! So, I share with you these words, from myself and my friends, of kids in ages from elementary to young adult.

The future is looking not so bad.

two white women seated, hugging, viewed from behind
Sisters? Friends? Girlfriends? Who cares?

“My kids are much, much less selfish than I was at their age. They understand their power and their place in the world BUT THAT BEING SAID they will also cancel your ass and not apologize for it. Like, I love the “the iGen kids will eat the rich” memes because it’s true.”

“OMG yes, agree. There’s a lot of empathy and even if it’s not natural to some of them, so much empathy is MODELED by their peers that they all seem to pick up on it? Plus they check in on each other and talk about mental health and boundaries. I’ve learned a lot from my 19 year old and their friends, tbh.”

“[my son] played soccer for a couple years and was one of the less skilled players on the team by a fairly large margin. When I was his age, I was regularly mocked and bullied for the times when I struggled with sports. His teammates, on the other hand, were largely supportive and cheered for him when he made progress.”

Group of young kids in yellow soccer jerseys cheering
We support your efforts, teammate!

“And parents who accept their children ‘talking back’ when in reality they are directly holding us accountable to do what we say. Two of my own have challenged me in the past two weeks to really recognize what I said and did. It was HARD and embarrassing. If I had been defensive instead of willing to listen, I could have really harmed our relationship. Instead, I thanked them and told them I was proud of them for standing up for their convictions.”

Not to mention, objectively speaking, kids these days aren’t drinking and aren’t getting pregnant.

“Oh, and NONE of [my son and his friends] smoke, almost none of them drink –  None are binge drinking maniacs like I was. They drink soda pop, eat halal pizza and watch bad Indian horror movies for kicks!”

And finally, in a true example of treating people with kindness, this example from the next generation:

“I watched my own gay kid take down a bully and I was so. freaking. proud. It wasn’t that tired “gay kid snaps punches the jock in the nose” trope either. It was, ‘“I hope beautiful things happen to you and I hope that you are surrounded by good and kind people for the rest of your life that will help you to be a better person but right now, we have a difference in ethics. Don’t ever talk to me again.”‘

That is a verbatim quote not a paraphrase.

These kids are all right. I’m glad they are the ones who will be leading us into the future.







Sharon Falduto is a Central Iowa native who came to University of Iowa in 1991 and essentially never left the area. She is involved in local community theater, notably as one of the co-founders of Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre. She has also directed children's plays with the Young Footliters group. Sharon works in with English Language Learners in a support position at Kirkwood Community College.. She lives in Coralville with her husband, Matt, and three daughters Rachel, Samantha, and Piper.


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