3.12.14 Instant Gratification Nation

So I mean this in the best way, but sometimes I cannot help but wonder if everyone around me is losing it. Granted, most of my life is surrounded by kids–so it’s more likely they never had it, but still … the things kids say. Today, for example, I reminded a student, (a thirteen-year-old boy) to write his name on his paper. When he looked at his last name after writing it, he said, “Huh, I never really realized my last name had a “z” in it before. And I was like, seriously! How in the heaven did you miss it? Or take the other day, a girl walked into my class and said, “Hey, Mrs. H, do you happen to have any extra pants?”
    “Pants?” I questioned.
    “Yeah,” she said, “I found out that my pants have two holes in them and I wondered if I could borrow yours.” Now as if this wasn’t awkward enough, I have to say that this girl and I are not even remotely close to the same size or height! Again, seriously? I’ve had kids ask me: if I could just write their papers for them, why they need to capitalize or punctuate when I understood what they meant anyway, and ask if, rather than doing an assignment, I would please just fail them. To which I say, yikes! These are what I call my, “sweet & lows.” They’re nice kids, but they don’t really take a whole lot of time to fill more than their Facebook status. This is the future people … but, in my opinion, it doesn’t have to be.

I’d like to say that it’s just because they’re kids, they’re immature and they don’t know any better, but sadly, I’ve heard of just as many ludicrous run-ins with adults! A friend of mine was recently talking to a girl she went to high school with. Not having any children of her own yet, this acquaintance suggested, “You should really get some.” Get some? Like she can just go to the kid store and pick a few up! I’ve had a parent say to me that she wanted her daughter to do better in Science and Social Studies because, according to her, “Them’s basically the same thing.” Wow! Or there was one time my husband was speaking to someone at work (a renowned medical company, mind you) who talked about the island of Alaska! We have to wonder about these people right? Because the worst part is, most of the time they don’t see a thing in the world wrong with what they say. Author Cassandra Clair once wrote, “If you were half as smart as you thought you were, you’d be twice as smart as you are.” Harsh, but sometimes true.

Now, while completely worth a laugh, I can’t pretend that I haven’t said or done things that would sometimes land me in this, “did-I-just-say-or-do-that” category. I typically blame lack of sleep, but really, I think it is a little more than that. We’ve become what I call an “Instant Gratification Nation.” We don’t wait, we don’t filter our words, we don’t plan first, and often … sadly … we just don’t think!
I’ve often discovered that I too am a product of the: “I want what I want when I want it, ” culture-shift. I don’t wash two loads of laundry, I shove everything into one so that when I empty even one piece of it, the whole tight load comes pouring out. In haste I’ve dumped muffin ingredients that, should have been sorted, together to, “save time,” just to have a batch of lumpy rocks we tossed. Just this morning, I wanted desperately to get to an appointment early, so instead of blow drying my hair, I had the stellar idea to turn up the heat blowers in my car. When that wasn’t quick enough, I brilliantly opened my windows, forgetting that the current polar-vortex would not only dry my hair, but freeze it. Fail! Now sporting some sort of Icelandic dreads, I could barely take myself seriously and rightly laughed at myself for the tool that I was.

So why do I share these embarrassing anecdotes? To make a point, that even though in the end, I might be a step above not recognizing the letters of my own last name, I think we all need to own up to the lifestyle we’re hurrying past. There’s a quote from playwright Herb Gardner that says, “You have got to own your days and live them, each one of them, every one of them, or else the years go right by and none of them belong to you.” Well said Mr. Gardner. I would further that idea, that not only will our years not belong to us if we continue to live in our state of, “instant gratification,” but we also run the risk of making ourselves seem like idiots in the process!
Just for fun, try to think of a few of the, “seriously?” moments you’ve been witness to. Now admit one of the, “one-time-I …” to yourself and laugh. Finally, make a pledge to live life a little slower, a little sweeter, and (dear Lord please) a little smarter.

Literarily yours,


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