You know exactly where I’m going with this. Please humor me.
The other day I was in the supermarket where I saw an all too common scene. A mom was shopping with her little girl sitting in the shopping cart seat. She told her daughter that she couldn’t have a candy bar because she was already “hyped up on sugar.”
You know what happened next. The little girl exploded in tears and started screaming bloody murder right there in the candy aisle. Needless to say, it wasn’t one of life’s sweeter moments.
A doctor on a plane gets into an argument with security. He refuses to get off the plane and things get physical with the doctor literally being dragged off the plane. Not walked out, but dragged off. He’s not a kid, but a full-blown and full-grown adult. He’s a grown man. Needless to say, the security guys are also adults … in terms of age anyway.
Two little boys are playing with their trucks in a sandbox. One of the boys decides he wants the other boy’s truck along with his own. He yanks the other boy’s truck, pushes him and he falls down. Needless to say, the other boy throws a minor tantrum.
Right to Lifers and Pro Choice advocates are rallying outside a women’s clinic. They're chanting their slogans and the chants turn into shouting at one another and of course, someone as usual, crosses the line and shouting turns into a full-blown fistfight. The cops are called and three people are arrested. There’s blood on the scene.
What do all of these scenes have in common?
“ME! ME! ME!” It’s all about, “ME!”
And yet, despite the fact that the participants are terrifying self-centered and only concerned about THEIR desires, there’s also a complete lack of self-awareness in the moment.
We can give kids a pass for not being self-aware. They’re not mature. They simply lack the maturity to be self-aware on that level. However, what about the adults?
At what point in life must we say that a human being has enough maturity to be self-aware and fully responsible for one’s actions? 16? 25? 35? Dare I ask, 45?
It doesn’t matter who is “to blame.” What matters is who takes responsibility. The adult in the room always takes responsibility whether it’s their “fault” or not.
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard an adult say that they like being an adult. Seriously. However, I do often hear people talking about “being young” or “staying young” or “looking young” or “feeling like a kid again.”
You rarely hear anyone talk about happily embracing being an adult and enjoying maturity. It’s as if everyone secretly wants to look like and be a teenager again.
Where are the adults? It feels to me like we’ve become a nation of grown up children. We’re certainly behaving like children. Bratty children, at that. We get upset and start lashing out when things don’t go our way and then, we claim that our rights have been violated.
Everyone seems to be fighting everyone else over “their rights.”
“It’s MY right to do THIS!”
“Well, it’s MY right to do THAT!”
Emotional outbursts have completely replaced reason, logic and thinking before we act. Isn’t that one of the fundamental things we teach our kids?
Think BEFORE you act.
Let me be clear here. There are millions of people who have their rights violated on a daily basis. That’s not what we’re talking about here. I’m talking about selfish people who don’t get what they want and then claim that life is unfair.
Life is unfair? Excuse me, but didn’t we learn that back in first grade? Of course, this doesn’t mean we should try to make things fair, but being an adult who throws a hissy fit isn’t going to suddenly make life fair … or get you what you want.
I’m seeing it more and more … adults behaving like petulant children. It’s really frightening.
And do you know the worse part of all of this? The defiant and unapologetic tone of people these days. Not only are they NOT going to apologize for their bad behavior, but they’re actually digging in their heels when they KNOW they’ve done wrong.
I blame much of this on the erosion of values and morals in our society in addition to our overly-casual tone and the rise of “ratchit” reality TV. This even filters all the way up into the very top echelons of our government. People now feel that’s it’s okay to just “let it all hang out” wherever they go.
I’ve actually sat in courtrooms and watched defendants point fingers and swear at judges. I recall one day, I was covering a trial. I had arrived early in the courtroom where another hearing was taking place. A young man – he was about 25-years-old – was being sentenced for burglary and theft.
This young man was not having it. He didn’t believe he deserved to be there and he certainly wasn’t accepting responsibility for anything. I say this to make this point … if the young man were innocent, there’s no way he would’ve been behaving the way he was behaving in that courtroom.
The judge asked the young man if he had anything to say and believe it or not, he replied …
“Yeah judge!” “‘F’ YOU and YOU and EVERYONE in this &$%# courtroom!”
“You’re in contempt of court!” the judge replied, slamming down her gavel.
As sheriff’s deputies ushered this young man out of the courtroom, I wondered whether this guy was raised in a barn. He was definitely one for the psychotherapist’s couch.
A short time later, I actually saw the judge at a social function and said to her, “Wow, I couldn’t believe that young man who cursed you and everyone out in court the other day!”
And without missing a beat, the judge drolly looked at me and replied …
There are tons of bratty kids walking around out there and they’re not all children. Being grown doesn’t mean you’re grown up and being an adult doesn’t mean you’re mature.
Most kids have a big excuse. They’re kids. But what excuse do full-blown and full-grown adults have?
Oops, sorry. I forgot. They had a rough childhood.