Kids Are Soft.

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The kids today have it way too easy.

They’re spoiled, lazy, and soft.

And I’m officially old when I write(?) how kids these days are spoiled, lazy, and soft.

As I watch students walk (or run) down the hallway, I’ve noticed their school supplies are much nicer than what I had in the early 80’s.

They are also more expensive.

Fancy binders.The Evil Spawn's 2010 Lunchbox.

Mechanical pencils.

Glue sticks.


Book bags with wheels.

State of the art lunchboxes.

I can live with the binders, pencils, etc., but I have to draw the line when it comes to the new–fangled book bags/luggage and lunchboxes/coolers.

When I was a kid (I’m actually becoming older and older as I type this…), we didn’t have $60 book bags.

With or without wheels.

Kids driving their books down the hallway drives me crazy.  My luggage should be as nice as their book bags.

We carried our books underneath our arms like God intended (that’s if we took books home… and we didn’t). 

How are today’s kids ever going to feel the embarrassment of dropping 7 textbooks, 4 folders, and 114 papers in the middle of a busy street if they have a book bag?

This is a rite of passage that all children should be forced to enjoy.

We are cheating our kids out of one of life’s most precious moments.

You haven’t lived until the wind is howling at 40 miles an hour and you’re chasing your math homework across a busy intersection (and all the other kids are looking and pointing at you… not that this ever happened to me…).

If that wasn’t bad enough, we are also creating a generation of children who don’t understand how to keep their lunches cold.

It’s not that complicated.

You freeze a can of soda.

We did this.

We did this because we had to.

And we liked it.

Put the can in the freezer the night before, wrap it in tinfoil, and bingo… instantly cold lunch (and sadly, sometimes soggy).

There weren’t any lined lunch containers when we were kids.

We didn’t need them (actually we might have needed them, but we couldn’t afford them).

We had two choices.  A brown paper sack or metal box covered with pop-culture (and rust).

Poor kids used a brown sack (me).  Even poorer kids were forced to recycle the brown sack each day to be used for an entire week (my wife… who is still working through this issue).

The rich kids had a Scooby-Doo, Evil Kneivel, or Happy Days lunch box.

The really rich kids had a KISS or Star Wars lunch box (with matching Thermos I might add… ).

Today’s kids have lunchboxes with zippers, levels, containers, and water bottles that look like works of art (Exhibit A:  The Evil Spawn’s lunchbox in the picture).

I still have a brown paper sack (and the sad part is I have a job).

I think today’s kids are soft.

Kids think I’m old.

We are probably both right.

One of the great mysteries of my life… How does a Thermos work?  Hot stuff hot.  Cold stuff cold.  It’s magic.

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7 Responses to “Kids Are Soft.”

  1. Melanie
    on Aug 28th, 2010
    @ 3:37 pm

    They’re definitely soft, but I disagree on the reasons why. I had a fancy Tupperware lunch box back in the day, so I can’t complain about that. And we were NOT rich. My mother just sold Tupperware. They’re spoiled because people try to make their lives easier. Parents complain we assign too much homework, but compared to the rest of the world we’re about half or less of the homework that other countries’ children work on each night. American parents think it’s more important for students to get “down” time, i.e. time to watch TV and play video games, which sucks their brains out of their heads. This results in parents who won’t make their kids do homework and kids who couldn’t do it even if the parents made them. It’s a vicious cycle. My children will hate me once they’re born, because they will not be spoiled. At least not in that way.

  2. Kelly
    on Aug 29th, 2010
    @ 7:35 am

    I loved this! As a former middle school teacher, I always said, “Cell phones! Why do middle schoolers, and even some older elementary kids need CELL PHONES!” Then, when my husband was deployed overseas and I was working full time, my 5th and 6th grade children had to walk across town, to and from school each day. They would be home for a few hours before I got home from work…. Suddenly, they had cell phones. I was happy that the technology existed so that we could have this measure of superficial safety. (It was actually more of a convenience and monitoring tool.)

    I know that in some ways kids are soft in comparison to when we were kids. But, think about on-line gradebooks, parent portals, and automated telephone message delivery systems. My parents only knew my grades about every 9 weeks unless they had phone call from the teacher – which they didn’t. I can look up my kids’ assignments 24-7 and hassle them about why “this isn’t in” or why “that isn’t in.” It’s a trade-off.


  3. Diane
    on Aug 29th, 2010
    @ 10:58 am

    I always bought lunch and remember being so envious of the kids with their cool metal lunch boxes and thermoses. Ah the good old days.

  4. Tim
    on Aug 30th, 2010
    @ 1:15 pm

    And yet… our kids are faced with opportunities to overcome adversity that you and I won’t ever face and they’ll probably be just fine. Kids today have the means to accomplish things we would have never dreamed about as kids.

    If kids are spoiled, lazy or “soft”, it’s not because they were born that way. It’s an adult problem we’re talking about here. I’d say my kids are a little spoiled, but not really lazy and definitely not soft. They pursue life in a fashion that makes me tired. They get dirty, they get bumped and scraped, they shed a little blood and tears here and there. And they learn.

    It’s parents who spoil perfectly good children, it’s parents who model (or accept) laziness who get to have lazy children. Kids aren’t soft, they are a product of their environment. Adults are soft.

    Kids who are allowed to face the consequences of their actions or inaction, and whose parents are supportive but not to the point of coddling, will turn out to be responsible thinkers, learners and leaders. And that is anything but soft.

  5. Alicia Kessler
    on Sep 2nd, 2010
    @ 6:14 am

    First picture in my head: brown paper lunch bag with greasy spots at the bottom. I still must be rich, because I can put my hands on my Empire Strikes Back lunch box at any given moment ( in case American Picker’s show up at my house).

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Alicia Kessler, Love the American Pickers reference. Great show.

  6. Saba
    on Sep 7th, 2011
    @ 7:07 pm

    Goodmorning all,
    Pardon my english, I am not a native english speaker (I live in The Netherlands were we speak dutch.) I was just googling and happend to read your blog. Very nice.

    But I have to say , I don’t totally agree on kids being spoiled,lazy and soft. It’s again us expecting too much from them. If I look around ,I see parents/teachers putting a lot of pressure on kids these days. Todays generation also endures as much as we did, not in the same way but differently.

    My parents were very proud of me finishing my high school. Can’t imagine a parent these settling for this. Yes we were different, we didn’t have much but we also didn’t have the pressure kids have these days either. Todays world gives them opportunities but in return not only expects but almost demands from them to be successful. We struggled and think we made everything easier for them so the got everything on a gold plate and therefore are spoiled,lazy and soft . But didn’t our parents think the same way about us?

    Each generation has it own charme and strugles. If you meassure a fish on how high it can jump, it will end thinking he is faillure.

    With this all I don’t mean to say put your kids infront of the Tv 24×7 or give them anything they want. Just saying don’t compare. It was unfair when our parents did it and it still is unfair. Our world wasn’t that perfect as we like to think.

    Have a nice day and groetjes from Holland

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