A strange and disturbing thought crossed my mind the other day.
We’ve got two gerbils on our hands, each with their own peculiarities.
One, who I write about the most, only recently left home. His exact whereabouts are unknown, but last we heard, he lives in a commune. Yep, a bloody commune. As in a place where a bunch of people freeload off open-minded free-loving adults where no one has a job and everyone likes to get high.
We have two gerbils. This is the one that dropped out of high school, never worked on his GED, is unemployed, has basically never worked, got his nose pierced, his ears gauged, daydreamed about a lip ring, grew his hair long and his face fuzzy, and took up habits like drinking, smoking and doing pot. He also applied for and receives food stamps.
Our other gerbil is a few years older and on a remarkably similar track. He’s the one that dropped out of high school, never worked on his GED, and decided (along with his girlfriend) that birth control was a bad idea, thus leading to the creation of The Unwanted Child.
The situation with this gerbil and his unwanted child is what got me to thinking…
We, as grandparents, just might be looking at the possibility of adopting the little squirt. It’s a long shot, but if it happens, it’ll be a tough row to hoe. The kid hasn’t exactly been dealt the best hand.
So what happens when a generation becomes so lazy and irresponsible that people have to raise their own grandchildren?
Of course I’ve heard about people raising their own grandchildren before. It’s not exactly a new phenomenon. But something tells me that this sort of thing is on the rise. You might even say it’s “trending.”
A brief search of the internet for the phrase “grandparents raising children” turned up a disturbing number of results. I guess that means my hunch might be right. One web page, Grandparents: As Parents has a fact sheet, tips and statistics about this. And the government web site USA.gov has a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren page, too.
The Big Question
When grandparents step in and raise their children, there is one other important aspect to this situation. Namely, that the actual parents are completely missing out on the parenting experience. They are not learning any parenting skills.
So, when their children go on to have children, on what resource will those children be able to draw???
Those children will have grandparents who never acted as parents themselves!
Sure, they’ll know how to avoid jobs. They’ll know how to do a wide variety of drugs. They’ll even know a lot about body modification and giving up all sense of self and individuality in the name of being cool and fitting in. But they won’t know jack shit about parenting, so they’ll be ill-equipped to step in when their own children reproduce. In other words, who will be there to parent the gerbils of gerbils?
We are now one generation away from total family oblivion. Of course, that might not be the end of the world. Maybe by then iPhones and televisions will be able to do even more than they do now. Perhaps they’ll take over raising the young ones and it will be smooth sailing from there, I’m sure.
I’m not sure the traditional definition of family can successfully be “defended” by the responsibility apocalypse that will soon be upon us.