June 17, 2024
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June 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Who remembers the days when kids worked? Summer jobs were one’s pride and joy and many worked after school to boot. I was so excited that several days a week after school I worked in the office of the Jericho Jewish Center. I mimeographed (what’s that?), sent out mailings, answered the phone and was enormously excited when I received my paycheck. I remember wanting so much to have a telephone in my room (prior to cell phones). Excitedly, my father ordered a phone for my room and each month I paid for that joyful addition to my life.

Today it amazes me that kids are going to camp during the summer almost until they are off to college and even after that. In most cases, parents of 16-year-olds and even older are paying the camp for the good fortune of having them take their teenage child off their hands for the summer. Perhaps that is what it is all about. Families have no idea what to do with their children if they are home. Parents were meant to give birth, find nannies as quickly as possible, start pre- pre- nursery as soon as it is allowed and then, as the children grow, summer camp is waiting.

“Until when?” is what I am asking.

The reason that I have been thinking of this lately is because everywhere I go and frequently on news media there is a general lament about not being able to find workers. No one wants to work. I do not want to get involved with the discussion, and realize that many do not want to work because of the benefits they receive from the government. Yet I wonder why teenagers today are not searching out jobs locally. I have asked several storekeepers whether they would hire students on a part-time basis, and across the board they have all answered almost in one voice: “They do not want to work.”

Recently I had a discussion with a young person and asked him if he knew of any young people who would be interested in a local store that is in need of part-time or full-time help, and his answer boggled my mind. He said, “Working in a store is just very boring, therefore no one would want to work there.”

How many of us have ever suggested to our children that they get a job? How many have considered not sending a child to camp in order to save the money and have them do something slightly more enterprising?

Is it embarrassing to share with a child that we could use the financial help? Frequently we hear and read of those complaining about the tuition crisis. Following that comment usually comes, “And then the camps have become atrociously expensive.” Obviously I am not speaking of young children, but teenagers, older teens, pre-college-age children, college students: Are they not allowed to work in the milieu that we live in? Is it an embarrassment, when it used to be a feeling of pride to be young and have a job? Why do parents not encourage their children to get a job? Is there a stigma which I am not aware of?

We are living with such an entitled generation growing up around us. Children, especially teens, see what their parents have received from their parents, and expect the same. Good luck to everyone. I don’t know how you do it and how it is going to end, but somewhere along the line there has to be a crash. Shouldn’t we try to avoid it?


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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