Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Judgmental Generation

My latest column in The Laker ...

My mother is a Baby Boomer. 

I'm a Gen X'er. 

My boys are Generation Z. 

There's also the Y, and Post War Generations, and I'm guessing many before that, which I haven't looked up the labels for.

Each generation has seen change, progress, and failure and each has experienced it's own joy and heartache.

But there's another Generation missing from this list. It hasn't yet been given its 'official' label, although it's been around for quite awhile, and gaining momentum every year.

It's a group of people that are an amalgamation of EACH of the most recent generations; Boomers, X'ers, Millenials, and Gen Z's. Not so much the Post War kids.

They have strong opinions, on a variety of topics, and are living in a time when the internet has made it possible to share their every thought, on every subject, and how they would have done things differently, and more importantly, better.

This, my friends, is the
Judgmental Generation.  And we're in it.

It's fine to have an opinion on something. And it's perfectly fine to express that opinion, and even disagree on opinions.  As long as it's done in an mature, rational, non-threatening way.  

It's possible to disagree with a person's idea, without attacking the character of that person in the process.  

It just seems that the more and more news stories I read online, that happens less and less.

We talk about bullying in our schools, but all it takes is to read the comment section of one 'controversial' story online, to see it runs rampant among adults also.

Yes, many say cruel and judgmental things, and hide behind their anonymity, but others really don't care if you know who they are, as long as you're hearing what they're saying.

People don't even necessarily read the story, let alone in it's entirety. They grab the headline, and then let fingers fly with beratement, calls for imprisonment, (or beheading/impalement/death depending), all the while stating how they would have handled the situation much better.

All of this came to a head for me personally with the story of the little boy in Ontario, who wandered outside during the night, and froze to death only feet from the door of the apartment building he'd come out of.

Of course my heart broke when I read that story.  I'm a mom, and a human being, and I have empathy.

My first instinct was to feel bad for the grandparents who were caring for him, and for his parents, who had to wake up to their entire world crumbling, through no fault of their own.

My first instinct was not to head to the nearest online news story, and try to crucify them in the comments.

ALL of them!  Not only the grandparents, but the parents, also.  Who ... again ... weren't even there!

That's what I mean by this Judgmental Generation.  Those who, instead of simply reading the article and thinking, 'What a sad story', and moving on, will say things like, 'Those parents didn't even deserve to have that child! And they should be charged' 


There was one comment I had to reply to.  I couldn't help myself. 

It was, 'Who lets a child that age walk around in the middle of the night anyway?'

Well, really, let's think about that for a second.  Nobody.  Most parents, grandparents, whoever is in charge of that child would have been asleep at 4am when the child wandered out. 

Why?  Why do people do that?

While someone is IN their moment of crisis, that's not the time to kick them. 

Yes, I know, there are internet trolls everywhere, and if you can't handle it, stay offline.

But I don't want to stay offline.  I want to be able to see that people can discuss societies issues without tearing each other apart. 

There's no need.

If you feel you're part of this generation, stop it.

And stop telling people how you would have done things differently.  There really is more than one way to do something, and yours, although YOU may think so, isn't necessarily the best.  Get over it.

So many people judging.  On your clothes, lifestyle, food choices, how you raise your kids.  It never ends.  And really, if you're living your life as a good person, not harming others ... none of their opinions matter.

But they're going to give it anyway.

You have to be a strong person these days, to survive this new generation. They'll rip you to shreds if given the opportunity, but thankfully, weaved in there among the judgmental, are the compassionate and kind and caring and helpful.

THAT'S the generation I want for my kids, and theirs, and yes, my own.

All I ask is just take a minute, and take a breath, and think for a second, before sending that comment/response/rant in that indignant, self-righteous, judgmental tone.  Is it really deserving?  No? Then don't.  Leave them alone and don't be that internet troll.

Don't be part of that Judgmental Generation.  

Let's all try and be a little better than that, for the next generation's sake.  

And our own.