Warm spring days bring complaints of students of why don't we have air conditioning, it's too hot, can we turn on the fan and open the window?
I just have to laugh. Having grown up in Mississippi in the .....well.... forever ago.. when air conditioning wasn't even standard in homes, much less in schools, I find their complaints almost comical. Granted, when outside temps rise even above 80, our classrooms soar to 90+, but even then, it is nothing compared to the sweltering days I remember sitting in a classroom in August, hot, humid, Mississippi August, sweating, sitting in a puddle of sweat under your butt, your clothes stuck to you like a second skin. But never once daring, considering, contemplating complaining to the teacher or anyone else about your miserableness.
Are we raising a generation of whiners? A generation of those unable to endure duress of any kind?
These kid don't understand deprivation of no soft drinks on a daily basis, only enjoying that special treat on someone's birthday or another worthwhile holiday. They stroll into school with a cold one from McDonald's or a huge Monster drink in hand every day.
They don't understand the concept of eating the meal served in the cafeteria - the one and only option of lunch - homemade meatloaf, or beef stew, served up with fluffy biscuits or cornbread, or maybe mystery meat, disguised under gravy, shepherd's pie baked crispy on top. They whine when the person ahead of them took the last slice of stuffed crust pizza, leaving them with a choice of just pepperoni pizza, nachoes, or heaven forbid, today's selection of pork chops.
This generation heads home texting friends on their phone, walks in the door chatting on Skype on their iPad, joins friends online to play a video game, all while being bombarded by music pounding their brains from their earbuds. They don't understand coming home to chores, waiting for that rerun of The Brady Bunch that came on at 4:30, followed by helping mom make dinner.
Does it mattter? Are things better now? Are they worse? I'm not sure... but I sure know we've empowered kids to complain about conditions, and look for solutions! Maybe they will discover ways to right the wrongs created by our generation? Maybe they will find ways to endure the unthinkable and pave the way for future generations to live in comparable comfort.
Only time will tell......