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Get 'em while they're young

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2004-09-13


During this summer, my brother was complaining that his son was doing nothing but playing video games and riding his skateboard. Iíd have to agree with my brother. After all, my nephew should be working a full-time job, and doing research into what careers heís interested in. Then, after school starts, he should look into a job-shadowing program after school. I mean, heís 11 years old, heís not getting any younger, you know.

All right, so Iím being a bit sarcastic here, but what ever happened to letting kids be bored out of their skulls during their summer vacation which, back in the day, began the first week of June and ended after Labor Day weekend? Now, thereís soccer camp, gymnastics practice, Little League, computer camp, band camp, football camp, and BOOM! time to start school. Kids are leading lives so crammed with activity, it makes perfect sense to me that they now need to have something to do ALL the time. They canít look out the window during car trips. They need a DVD player, video games and at the very least, a book to pass the time. Go on, ask a kid if theyíve ever daydreamed and see what sort of response you get.

Personally, I think thereís a conspiracy theory afoot. The Baby Boomers, knowing full well that Generation X is short on numbers to support the Boomersí retirement benefits, want to make sure their kids have such a great work ethic that they opt for part time jobs the minute they are old enough to work them. With both Gen X and children of younger boomers in the workforce, it might ensure the Baby Boomers get plenty of money rolling in for their Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Or maybe the powers that be plan to eliminate vacation time altogether for U.S. workers. Work, work, work, and then work some more. The sweat of the laborers is what made this country what it is today: unemployed, uninsured (45+million) and at war. And... um... okay. Maybe thatís not such a good example.

Is all this work doing us good? What does it all mean if youíve never missed a day of work, yet your job is being shipped to India, because the person who is replacing you is better educated and will work for less than half your salary? What happens if youíve been with a company 15 years and the plant is closing?

And what does it mean for kids who hear the same chant: stay in school, stay in school? They wave the carrot in front of students: people with college degrees, over the long run, tend to earn more money than people who donít have college degrees. Well, except if you are some fantastic athlete who dropped out before senior year because he was offered a multi-million dollar contract to do something that doesnít really make society a better place. Bottom line is, there will always be more educated people than jobs for those educated people. Before kids face this reality, donít they deserve some vacation time, so when they are grown, they can look back at the good old days when they could lament their wasted youth? Or maybe if leisure time is eliminated, they wonít have anything to miss.

Something to think about, folks ...

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