I love posting what a MOAT or DOAT (DAD of Adolescents and Teens :) sends my way. Today’s link (at the bottom) is from one of my favorite sources, the Wall Street Journal.
I found this to be of particular interest especially in context of a recent conversation I had with the man who cuts my hair. We’ve been friends since he moved to the U.S. fifteen years ago. I know it was fifteen years because we met about a month after I gave birth to our first child. Teen Take-Out was a rather colicky baby (inconsolably crying whenever he was awake). My mom gave me a break from the screaming by letting me get my hair cut. Gripped by a little undiagnosed postpartum depression, I sat in that salon chair and cried. As I quietly sobbed, I couldn’t help but notice that my new friend was equally feeling the blues. Upon questioning, I learned that he had moved from Paris with grand dreams of living in the U.S. The Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex offered wonderful opportunities … just ones without mass transportation. Most major cities have well planned and accessible public transportation. Dallas, not so much. So as car-less Sebastian bemoaned his isolation and lack of transportation options, I sat crying over my own isolation and virtual baby prison new to my own life.
To this day, we still laugh at our sad selves. We have both overcome our pathetic pity parties and are grateful for the circumstances we found ourselves moping through.
The other day when I got my hair cut, he told me about some difficulties he has had with young stylists that “rent” chairs from him. “If I give them suggestions or tell them they should do something a different way, they get offended. If things aren’t going exactly the way they like they quit … like a little kid taking their toys and leaving.”
I winced. It’s true right here in my own back yard. We’ve read about it. Talked about it. But it’s still sad to see it in action.
“Yeah, that kind of seems to be a trend these days… Lots of young folks want jobs to be all about fulfilling their needs, based on their terms, their schedules – and with lots of accolades. They’re used to being lauded and getting their way, so when a bump comes along – they change course.”
“Really?” he questioned.
“It’s not the American way,” I say to this man who is actually living the American dream. He came to the U.S. with nothing. Now he has his own trendy up-town salon. He works very hard and is always looking out for creative ways to grow his business… even when he worked for someone else. “This country is founded upon ingenuity and hard work.”
“Well, I had heard that, but I just assumed that Americans expect to be served. All I’ve seen is overly-sensitive stylists who need to have their hands held in just the right way or they get mad and leave. I figured it was an American trait. … We would never do that in France,” he added. “In France, one works hard… respects the boss and the client no matter what.”
The words stung.
In my heart I was defensive, wanting to yell, “No that’s OUR story.”… but I couldn’t. The years of well-intentioned over-serving, hovering, racing in to save, manipulating, and the likes have left lots of kids thinking the world is here to serve them.
Anyway, those were my thoughts when I saw this article. Though the title might be a bit judgmental in its implication, there’s certainly food for thought.
Click here to read: Why French Parents Are Superior
Thanks for walking the meaningful work, deferred gratification, others-centered paved road with me. Together we can nip this entitlement thing and free our kids to accomplish all the things they American dream about. It just might be a little bumpy along the way.