The heady perfume of spring orange blossoms came wafting along the morning breeze to envelope and intoxicate me. Its alluring scent drew me daily until I could no longer resist and with nippers in hand I gathered the fragrant blossoms with abandon. Vases throughout my home dispensed the captured aroma for days afterward.
But with every flower I cut, there would be one less orange to enjoy in its time. For at the heart of every tender blossom resided the beginning of one tiny, green, orb that if nurtured patiently instead of sacrificed for a momentary pleasure would in time produce the sweetest of fruits. I could not have my orange and smell it too. I would not capture that aroma to fill my home in spring and still have my orange’s sweet nectar in winter.
How often we trade in greater reward we could have because we refuse to wait, to develop the patience we need for the better pay off. Entitlement and impatience seem the order of our day. We must have it now, lacking the ability to count the cost and when the bill comes due it must be someone else’s fault.
Mine was a generation from a cold era, the first where divorce came out of the closet and into the norm. Our parents didn’t connect their freedom to abandon the family with a toll on us and we suffered the loss as walking wounded, bent on bandaging it by way of smothering our children with all the affection and attention left wanting in our own souls. And so we did.
This generation grew up being told they could do anything, they were the most special generation ever. Every child got a ribbon and award, no matter how poorly they did, how little talent they possessed or effort they put in, in that particular arena.
Baby felt special indeed, but in our generation of parents, it went over the wall. We felt compelled to give Baby the best our money could buy. Money equated to love and we bought it for Baby in record quantities, passing on a mentality that Baby should have it and have it NOW.
Baby morphed into teens who had to have the newest at all times and marketers were only too happy to oblige, creating fresher items destined for obsolescence in six months’ time, creating an ever-increasing appetite for ever-changing items.
It became easier for this generation’s parents to pass out a $20 or a new ‘i’ whatever than to say no and hold the line. These entitled brats became college students who didn’t necessarily earn the grades but demanded the place, and used college loans to buy their way through in style, told by my generation that they’d be making huge sums the moment they exited college, because after all, they were so special. But we hadn’t had the guts to tell our kids no, or to pull up their pants. We dared not teach them that piercings and tattoos don’t fly in the adult world, and when they graduated, it turned out they weren’t so special out there, as they’d been lead to believe they would be.
Oddly, my generation’s mentality would poise itself to eat their generation alive, because we grew up hearing ‘read the fine print’ and their generation grew up scanning, moving ever faster on the quest for more.
Few of them took responsibility to read the fine print on their student loans or car loans or home loans. Now their student loans have ballooned, mortgages are foreclosed and prospective employers pass them over as immature caricatures of reality TV due to their inability to dress or act appropriately in a given situation or the realm of business.
These child adults don’t get it and they don’t know why the world has turned against them. The world is giving them the spanking we refused to, teaching them that there really are unchangeable laws of the universe, and that the sun, sadly to them, does not revolve around their wants and desires. I wonder what the backlash will be for the next generation because we taught this one to pick the blossom, without teaching them the rewards of patience, of waiting long enough to reap the orange.