[Want your own rant? See the Rant Meme: http://cahwyguy.livejournal.com/1029809.html This rant is for jumbach (James Umbach on Facebook), who wanted a rant on “Kids these days and their lack of respect for elders. Like, OMG!!”. Remember: the rant meme is a great creative writing exercise. Just follow the instructions and post it to your own journal.]

[He walks out, with a soapbox. He sets it on the ground. He climbs up on it, and speaks…]

In the musical “Bye Bye Birdie”, there’s a song called “Kids”, with the refrain, “What’s a Matter with Kids These Days”. In the musical “Flower Drum Song”, the adults sing about the problems with “The Younger Generation”, while the kids complain about “The Older Generation”. You don’t get what I’m talking about do you?

Hmmm. Let me try another approach, and quote Rodney Dangerfield. I get no respect. No respect at all.

If you look at kids these days—and I’m not just talking about teenagers—you’ll find there is a distinct lack of respect for their elders (I’ve made it to over 50; I think I’ve earned the title “elder”). Whereas when we were growing up, adults were always Mr. or Miss/Mrs…. or if you knew them well, Aunt and Uncle. Today? You’re lucky if you get called something that isn’t four letters. What adults said was respected and given due consideration before it was ignored. Today, it is just ignored.

Adults are taken for granted. We are the taxi, the restaurant, the cleaning staff, the laundry staff. We supply the technical toys and the Internet access that makes a kids life possible. We pay the cable bills and the phone bills. We provide them with clothing and field trips and with food. Boy, do we supply them with food! Yet do we get any appreciation for this? No. We even have to buy our own cards for Fathers Day and Mothers Day.

Now, when I was a kid, we knew how to respect our parents. We listened to them. We did what they said. We feared and respected them. Of course, that’s because we knew if we didn’t they would be the crap out of us. Ah, the good old days. Respect built from fear.

But kids today. How do we gain that respect back? Fear isnt’ the answer. Respect out of fear is meaningless. We want respect out of love.

Let’s look at this another way. One big item in the news this week was the release of the entire series of “Leave It To Beaver” on DVD. Eddie Haskell was polite… but was he respectful? No. The Cleaver boys were more respectful, because they listened to what their parents said. Respect is built not on the things we do, but on how we say and act. We earn our respect by giving respect back, by giving good advice, and by being parents—being there to listen, being firm when necessary, and providing that safe harbor. Ultimately, kids aren’t respectful to their parents because they know they can; because they know home is a safe place where they don’t need that respectful facade.

I’d rather have the respect where my child knows they can talk to me about any problem. That’s more important than any card.

[He carefully climbs off the soapbox. He picks it up, and walks offstage.]