The Elementary Lesson Millennials In America Need To Hear Again

The Elementary Lesson Millennials In America Need To Hear Again

Sure, I want my kids to excel in “writing and arithmetic,” but mostly, I want to build them into the best person they can be.
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I am a twenty-something, child-loving, proud middle school teacher. I teach English to sweet, teenage nincompoops five days a week. But as much as I love subjective pronouns, I love nincompoops more, and my job is so much more than drilling them with academics. Sure, I want my kids to excel in “riting and rithmetic”, but mostly, I want to build them into the best person they can be. They are so moldable, and this shaping starts in the classroom with the little things- the small concepts like respect, determination, and personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is probably one of the most important values I try to instill in my kids. My students know our phrase: “I am responsible for everything I think, say, and do.” After all, we wouldn’t want Jack blaming Diane for not finishing his homework, would we? Or worse, we wouldn’t want Jack blaming Diane for losing his job and skipping the family’s mortgage payment.

Despite these efforts of instilling personal values in my classroom, recently I’ve come to the realization that many millennials (amongst other generations) in America don’t even understand this concept of personal responsibility. As a matter of fact, I was emboldened to write about this issue once I realized that I am equally a victim of this plague. As I began to think about it, I became disturbed by the amount of times I hear grown adults make simple excuses for their slip ups, and I don’t know how or when this became okay.

You might be thinking right now, “Okay, this is true for some people, but I actually consider myself a pretty accountable person”. And you probably are… Mostly. But consider these two hidden instances where you likely didn’t even know you were diverting responsibility, and you and I both do them:

When You Arrive Late Somewhere

We’ve all heard the phrase: “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, to be late is just unacceptable.” Well, somewhere along the way being late has become acceptable, especially to millennials. Not only has it become acceptable, it’s become a breeding ground for a quarry of ridiculous excuses. Who’s ever heard any one of these excuses when someone arrives late somewhere:

“Sorry I’m late, traffic was ridiculous,” or

“Sorry I’m late, I was blow drying my hair,” or

“Sorry I’m late, I thought the surprise party started at 7:45.” (As you are walking in with the birthday girl.)

Now I’m not saying there is no grace for a genuine mistake. Life happens, I get it. But MY question I’d like to prose is: WHY does the apology always have to be followed with an excuse? Oh you apologized, and then explained why you messed up? Good for you, I’ll look past your poor planning. Not exactly. A true apology is a sincere admittance of fault, and nothing further. If millennials were my students, I’d be telling you to own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your error. Why can’t the response be simply, “I’m sorry I’m late.” Better yet, “I’m really sorry I’m late, I made you guys wait on me and that is not okay.”

The fact of the matter is, no matter WHAT you were doing prior, your lack of punctuality was still disrespectful of someone else’s time and it was ultimately your fault, either for not planning for traffic appropriately, showering sooner, or confirming time and address. Take it from someone who loves to gather people together often: It will be taken a lot more genuinely when you own it, and you’re not lying to yourself or to your host. All in all, do people a favor and consider changing this small facet of your undercover habits. It’s one hidden aspect of personal responsibility we’re all slowly beginning to lose.

When You Lose Your Cool

A second hidden instance in which you may not have even realized you were copping out of personal responsibility is when you lose your cool. Prime example: A friend snaps at you for something minor, then realizes their mistake by saying, “I’m sorry, I’m just tired.” Can you guess the problem here? That’s right, there’s that hidden excuse again. Regardless of your emotions or your physical well-being at the moment, being “tired” does not warrant the opportunity to blow up on someone, and then simply make the excuse your apology. You are not taking responsibility in that moment for losing your cool when you tack on the defense of not getting enough sleep the night before. Rather, it should go, “I’m sorry I said those things, that wasn’t right of me,” the end. Ladies, I might even like to argue that when it’s that time of the month, it doesn’t warrant us to go she-beast mode on the world. Now again, I’m not saying there isn’t grace in these moments, but let the other party give grace to you rather than conjuring it up yourself.

My grandfather would have turned over in his grave if he’d heard some of the casual excuses we come up with today. He was a man of his word and believed in doing the common-sense thing. I even have a theory that the technologically saturated world we live in today has allowed us a convenient facade to operate behind, and allows us to feed these failures, but that is an article for another day. All in all, I believe we could all benefit from re-learning this elementary lesson again: “I am responsible for everything I think, say, and do.” I’d challenge you to join me in asking yourself these hard questions and analyze where you fall short. The world will thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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To Those Who Feel The Need To Tear Down Others, Take A Seat

You have no right to hurt others because you don’t agree with them.

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I recently wrote a super controversial article, which I'm honestly very proud of. In the comment section, there were plenty of people criticizing me because of what I believe in, mainly because they didn't believe in the same thing as I put out there.

I would just like everyone to know that the people that write for this amazing company are just that — people. They are real, they have opinions, and they have feelings. There is nothing different about them than you. Would you like someone commenting hate on your Facebook post or anything like that? No, no you wouldn't. When you comment rude things on something that someone worked long and hard on, you are just being rude and inconsiderate of their feelings.

If you just go to the comments to leave a rude comment, you can write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. You're being a bully. These writers more than likely will go to the comment section, just like I did, and will be hurt by your arrogant, inappropriate comments.

Ever heard of if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

If you don't agree with me that's fine, but that doesn't give you the right to deliberately go and try and tear me or anyone else down. You're just being rude and you have no reason to be, all I did was write an article on something I believe in.

Also, don't let anyone rude enough to do this tear you down or diminish your self-worth. There are people out there who are still kind and caring, don't listen to the negativity this world brings. Just keep doing what makes you happy, because in the end, that's all that really matters.

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