In the past, young people could hardly wait to get away from home. Some picked colleges to distance themselves from home. Some joined the military. Some chose marriage. No matter what path they chose, they wanted to get away from family and the familiar. They wanted to be free and on their own.
There was a glitch in their flights to freedom. It seems those anticipated escapes had a traveling companion — the rude awakening.
In college, many had to develop disciplined study habits. Since mom was no longer around, there were chores – laundry, cooking and even foraging for food. At some point, the dorm rooms or apartments had to be shoveled out. It seems the stench forced a neighborly busybody to report them to the state health inspector. Once the Hazmat Team left the premises, the shoveling ensued.
Those who joined the military discovered that clocks had a purpose besides ornamental value. For some reason, the military ran on a strict schedule and frowned on tardiness. The newly freed youths also learned the true meaning of the phrase “no pain, no gain.” (Those 25 miles hikes carrying 50 pounds of gear can be a drag.)
Wedded bliss was another eye-opener. Essentially, they traded a home where everything was done for them for one in which they were responsible for everything.
For the most part, they managed to survive the initial shocks of freedom and not only adapted to life’s demands, but they thrived.
Fast forward to the present, and we find the opposite situation. Far too many kids (sometimes as old as 40) do not want to leave the nest. Why should they? Everything they need or want Mom and Dad provide. All they have to do is show up at hand out time.
Why is the desire to leave the nest missing in today’s young adults? Well, gee. Could it be that at 30 and 40 they still have not decided what they want to be (aside from being permanent moochers)?
They have jobs but blow the money (often before payday which often leads to credit card debt). They make paltry payments on ballooning credit card debts and continue to make purchases. No wonder they lack the funds to rent an apartment or buy a house. Their credit tanks before they tasted the joys and tribulations of life on their own.
And that brings to mind a specific Canadian Geese family. The parents have returned to the pond outside our office building for several years. Each year they mate, she lays enormous eggs and then sits on them for what seems like forever in all kinds of weather.
There she sits without a book, a television or even an iPod to keep her occupied. After all, just how much time does it take to fluff the nest, turn the eggs and go about the business of waiting for the eggs to hatch?
In years past, at least four goslings hatched, and the cubicled folk cheered and watched as they learned the rudiments of living. However, between turtles, birds of prey and perhaps snakes, the goslings never grew past the fluffy feather stage.
Again this year, four goslings hatched. Mom and Dad kept a sharp eye on them, chasing away potential threats. For their part, the goslings stayed close to Mom and Dad, except for the little rebel who always wandered off and had to be corralled by one of the parents.
We all hoped this would be the year the goslings would grow up and fly north when the time came. Three of them made it through all the dangers and flew off. However, the gosling that used to stray from the family fold is still at home with Mom and Dad.
Wonder if he or she has been watching grown human children who also refuse to leave home?