Skip to content

Generation E

June 3, 2012

Housecats are the embodiment of the Entitled Generation. They lie around all day and demand food the minute you walk in the door. They only purr when they’re actively being petted, and jump on your stomach first thing in the morning if their water bowls are dirty.

It used to be that cats had a job. They kept rodents out of the barn and never, ever let them near the house, and for this they received milk. What happened? How, in the transition from agrarian to urban society, did their social standing elevate to that of prima donnas? What makes them think they should be waited on paw and claw without doing a lick of work?

It must have happened much like summer vacation. Whereas summer used to be a time when adults needed the help of their children to work the fields and therefore held them out of school, the tradition of breaks in the school year continued long past this necessity. As families left the country and moved into town there was less of a rodent population, and therefore less of a need for cats. But they kept them anyway, and began to find it necessary to supplement their diets. The cats, knowing a good thing when they saw it, stopped hunting. Similarly, students have somehow managed to stay out of school in the summer – many of them without working.

Now they’re expectations. The terms ‘cat food’ and ‘summer vacation’ have become so accepted we’ve forgotten the previous paradigms. Instead of cats doing their job we buy mousetraps; instead of getting our kids’ help in the summer we pay for camps and activities.

Well, no more. This is where I take a stand. My cats aren’t getting any treats until they catch the mouse that’s invaded my house. Today, while sitting on the toilet, I saw it walk across the floor, stop and look at me, and leisurely turn around and saunter into my bedroom (yes, the bathroom door was open – nobody was home, and the cats get upset if they can’t come and go as they please. Spoiled brats!).

It took a minute to extricate myself. But finally I grabbed both cats and brought them into my room. The mouse was crouched behind the bed. I set them in front of it. Their hunting instincts kicked in. They chased it!

It got away.

Now come on – two full-grown cats can’t catch one mouse? That’s pathetic. They’re obviously suffering from excessive pampering. They believe we exist to serve them and it’s our fault. We’ve created this situation, cat owners, and it’s up to us to rectify it.

Similar platitudes can be applied to the youth of today – the so-called Generation Y and its successor, Generation Me (if not its predecessor as well, good old Gen X). I suggest we shorten Me to E, for Entitlement. I suggest we stop pointing fingers at Obama, at NCLB, at public schools, at television, at ADHD and similar so-called disorders, and take a look at ourselves. Are we creating situations in which our children can learn responsibility and a work ethic? Are we providing them with the tools in which to thrive in this changing cultural landscape? Are we setting good examples with our own lives?

These are the questions which have led me to seek an old-fashioned lifestyle – however difficult that is proving to be. I want to set an example my daughter can look back on in her teen years and in her adulthood – an example of sustained work and eventual reward. I want her to understand that she is not entitled to instant gratification in every aspect of her life. I want her to believe in herself, to know that she can accomplish anything she wants if she puts her heart and soul – and muscles – into it.

As for the cats, I just want them to catch that damn mouse.

Advertisements

From → Rants

4 Comments
  1. This made me smile … And think. Great piece of writing. Love York comments about cats and the analogy! Nice!

    • This was a fun one… I love it when two divergent ideas (or experiences) merge together so naturally. I hadn’t planned it, but a friend texted me this message: “Write about it.” Without any explanation of what ‘it’ was. So I sat down and this is what happened. 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Week 19 « Avowel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: