After listening to Laura’s father rant about her terrible roommate and horrible professors, I walked away thinking about today’s generation. I realized that Laura is not accustomed to hearing “no” or failing at anything, because she is of the Participation Badge Generation. This is a group of students who, in Little League, received a trophy just for playing. They were told by their parents they could be anything they wanted to be when they grew up. This generation was always protected by mothers who overly praised their mediocre children and fathers who argued with anyone who disagreed.
For anyone following my blog, you will know that I have been called negative and jaded by my peers. However, being from the generation prior to the students residing in our halls, I believe I have a realistic view of the world. I am under no illusion that at 5’2” I will be a basketball star or, with my poor eyesight, I will be a fighter pilot. I do not care how many times I am told that my future possibilities are endless, I know I will never be the next Michael Jordan. And I am okay with that.
There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of reality, especially for the current generation who has rarely faced disappointment. What will they do when they do not land a high-paying job right after graduation? What will they do when their boss critiques them on their average performance? Will they call mommy and daddy, asking them to correct their evaluation since it must be wrong? At some point, our students need to feel the sting of failure and stare down the reality. No matter how confident you are that you will be the next Zuckerberg, if it is not meant to be, it will not happen.
That’s called life.