Sunday, July 06, 2008

"Fun,” “Cool” & No Where Fast

"Fun,” “Cool” & No Where Fast

The Day’s Ann Baldelli deserves commendation for her columns—including today’s— on teenage drinking, and parents, teens, educators, and municipal officials need to get beyond the “fun” and “cool” of it all to address this problem and the many more that plague this feel good generation.

As Baldelli beautifully notes, today’s teens merely rationalize underage drinking because they deem it “fun” and “cool.” Baldelli also reports that in many cases, these teens’ parents are spectators of their sport, well aware of their children’s “fun” and “cool” drinking activities. The least said about the headlines involving underage drinking in Southeastern Connecticut over the past two years, the better.

Underage drinking is not new. With this generation, though, it is an extension of their “fun” & “cool” outlook, for lack of a better term, on life. “Fun” and “cool” are code words referring to an incessant need for satisfaction and gratification, all the time, everyday, for everything. With an Ipod bud in each ear, a cell phone in one hand, and an espresso-shot coffee drink in another, this generation has been conditioned to seek out “fun” and “cool” in everything they do. And no-consequence parenting and I-centered education haven’t helped matters much.

Let’s be clear: the “fun” and “cool” adolescent pleasure wave hasn’t consumed all. Appropriately guided by adults who know better, there are many teens out there resisting that powerful undertow to make the most of their lives. Such individuals tend to rise above things by learning to live in moderation, by adjusting accordingly to things that can either be pleasing or not, by problem-solving rather than by problem-creating, and by carving out a future for themselves to avoid a no-where fast existence courtesy of all that is “fun” and “cool.”