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Why We Are the “Lost Generation”

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Hello. My name is Tracy U., and I am going to tell you about why our generation is a lost one. Not. That in itself is a huge reason why this generation is completely and utterly lost. We are so mechanical. I mean, we learn to write just like that in elementary school: in our essays we are told to begin with some kind of ridiculous introductory paragraph such as that; while the teachers have already gone through high school and college and know how ludicrous that sounds. We are actually taught that it is indeed stupid when we get to high school. So why are we taught it in the first place? Our generation is also filled with complete reliance on technology. A lot of technology is not particularly necessary to our survival but it certainly helps. We’ve grown accustomed to it and it would be very difficult to take it away. Likewise, the technology has rendered us completely spoiled and demanding of instant satisfaction; along with laziness at its absolute best. The media is a great tool for entertainment but at a price: sexuality is everywhere. And while not literally everyone falls into this category and we aren’t the first generation to display these qualities, a large majority of our generation is violent, selfish, and rude; and fighting a pointless war probably greatly contributes to that. Our generation is totally lost and even if the older and wiser try to steer us in the proper direction a large portion is too far gone to find their way back.

This may have been apparent in past generations; however it is certainly a prominent theme now: errors in education. There are a lot of problems with the way our teachers teach, whether it is because of their own errors or because they were taught improperly themselves. But examples such as the aforementioned one; being taught completely random, unimportant methods in elementary school that are later corrected give many students who dislike school even more reasons to dislike it. Similarly, while many teachers I have had are encouraging and as helpful as possible, others are not and often make students feel badly about themselves. For example, many times in my math classes I have seen my teachers ask, “Gosh, I really hope you guys understood how to do number one, right?” While if it is something we have been practicing for a while it may be frustrating to a teacher to have to go over it again, sometimes kids just don’t understand and hearing a teacher phrase their question that way discourages a student in fear of being embarrassed. That’s no way to conduct a classroom. Reasons like those are a small part, but a part nonetheless, of why I want to be a teacher so badly.

Technology has made an incredible impact on the lives of the children of our generation. I wasn’t exactly around when the television was first introduced but due to the limited selection of channels and the small amount of televisions available for each household I imagine plenty of children were still avid readers. But as the years progressed and more channels became available, along with VCRs and multiple-set homes, people drifted away from written words and towards moving pictures. Currently, it is nearly impossible to miss your favorite show with the introduction of devices such as TiVo; and with 800+ channels there’s always something to watch.

In terms of computers and the Internet, things like encyclopedias have become a thing of the past. The introduction of computers has nearly eradicated the need to ever pick up a book again; even for school, which is completely heart-wrenching. You can find more information than you probably ever thought possible using search engines on the Internet, and with websites that literally sum up popular books and classics, pointing out plot themes and recurring characters there’s no need to read again. The thing is, reading is an experience that can never be replaced by any screen. Curling up in your bed with a good book (extra props if it’s old and has that amazing old-book smell and crinkled yellow pages), playing the pictures out in your head and drawing the characters exactly as you want them to be, is something that should never be taken away. But sadly enough, most kids aren’t going to have the chance to experience that if they continue to rush through Sparknotes.com quickly so they can run to the TiVo and catch last night’s episode of whatever, or sit and instant message their friends for three hours.

While violence has certainly been around for generations, it isn’t going away quickly by any means. There is so much crime happening in the younger generation, especially involving drugs and alcohol. Some of the things children are doing – stealing their parents’ guns and shooting their friends and classmates, gangs of fourteen year olds beating on each other… these tragic news stories are slowly consuming our generation.

By the same token, some of the most tragic news stories we Americans are forced to wake up to are about the war in Iraq. The war began in 2003, and for many in our generation that stretches back quite far in our memories, even if it seems like almost yesterday. Many younger children in this year of 2008 have grown up knowing about some television war, much like the 1960s, which is claiming the lives of thousands of young Americans each day as well as innocent lives of Iraqis. For the younger generation born in the late 1990s, the war is all they know of the world. They know that our lacking president declared an unnecessary war; and that every day on the news there are more deaths in this far away land. For the older generation, we know that as a legal adult male, you must register with the Selective Service Act to receive federal student aid to attend college – but “there isn’t a draft”?

George W. Bush has been president since 2000, and for many young children that is a huge chunk of their lives. To many he has been one of the most incompetent and idiotic presidents in the history of the United States of America and this is what our future has grown up knowing full well – by way of the media making fun of him every day, particularly several years ago. For children who have no recollection of Bill Clinton, this is their first real memory of a president and he is being laughed at by adults on television and in the newspapers. The way he went about being elected wasn’t even done fairly, and all of these factors are the perfect ingredients to fueling a generation of children who have little to no faith in their government.
Many children are incredibly rude to their parents and elders, with no help from the media. Plenty of television shows display children mouthing off to their parents, hurting them, or even killing them in shows like CSI and Law & Order. Hopefully kids aren’t that impressionable and easily influenced, but some must be. The media is also corrupting young girls who either dream of being thin or dream of being loved at an early age. These young girls will do anything to be exactly like Britney Spears or the latest model on the cover of Seventeen magazine. It’s sad but unfortunately true.
The generation that exists in this day and age is losing itself more and more each day. The lazier, dumber, and more violent we get the worse off the next generation is going to be. Hopefully the smarter ones will be able to rise up.





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