Tales From A Hungry Life

May 7, 2014

Here’s To The Future

by Maria Schulz

Could it be...SPRING?

Could it be…SPRING?

Spring is here at last. I finally feel confident enough to put the snow shovels and ice scrapers away. This is big news, because the blizzards and ice storms that came with Winter 2014 made me doubt that Spring would ever come again.

The flowers have pushed their way through the soil and are now struggling to stand up. They are little but just need conditions to be right before they can stand on their own and share their beauty and promise with the world.

Of course, I knew Spring would come eventually. But sometimes, it’s hard to be optimistic when the future seems bleak and nothing is guaranteed.

Look at them grow

Look at them grow

As I watch the flowers grow, I think about our kids. This world we’re handing off to them is fraught with problems that, at times, seem beyond our ability to fix. Many of us think that the generations to come won’t be able to save us from the coming apocalypse. As we worry about the world we’ve created, we start to look back nostalgically at a “better” time: a time filled with people who were more intellectually deep, more passionate, and had bigger and better ideas.


It got me to thinking about the different generations that I’ve lived with and known over the years, and how they interact with one another.


The people in power (Boomers and Gen X’ers, with a sprinkling of the “Silent” generation, who by the way, aren’t so silent) want us to believe that kids today are hapless, helicoptered, and helpless. But for everyone who has ever had a grandparent, you know you heard those same complaints. I remember hearing the adults say that kids back in my day were:

  • Intellectually lazy and uninspired
  • Didn’t know how to commit to anything
  • Didn’t know what it was like to work hard
  • Never saved enough money
  • Expected the world to land in their laps
  • Would never amount to anything

No one specifically singled me out with those words, but they did tar me with the same brush used for my entire generation (those wacky, disillusioned, self-reliant Gen X’ers. Gotta love ‘em). I can still remember coming home from a long day of tending the salad bar and making impossible customers happy, only to hear my grandmother and great uncle say, “try working in a factory for 5 cents an hour,” or “you don’t know hard work. We knew what it was to work hard.”

Who says this was easy

Who says this was easy

Times change. Sure, I had the “luxury” of going to high school while my grandmother had to go off to work in a factory after 8th grade. But isn’t that what grandparents work so hard for—to make life better for their children and grandchildren? Don’t they want their kids/grandkids to be the next big thinkers and lead the world?

As a member of the Greatest Generation, my grandparents would have been thoroughly confused by the Millennials, and may have entirely dismissed the Boomlets/Generation Z since they are:

  • Too reliant on their parents for guidance
  • Not intellectually curious
  • Only care about themselves
  • Expect trophies and laurel leaves showered on them for the smallest things
  • Have no respect for authority
  • Don’t care about “family” as an institution
  • Don’t read
  • Don’t have any true passions
  • Have short attention spans
  • Don’t know how to socialize
  • Live their lives with their faces buried in cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices
  • Will never amount to anything
Maybe we should call them The Trophy Generation

Maybe we should call them The Trophy Generation

I’ve been hearing a lot about those lazy, good-for-nothing young’uns for a while now. But the thing I’ve learned about sweeping generalizations is that they’re harder to buy into when you know the people who are actually a part of the group everyone is busy disrespecting.

Just last week, I began the Spring rite of attending awards nights, honor society inductions and end-of-year activities to celebrate all the hard work our students have been doing.

It’s amazing how much these kids have grown during the past year. The outgoing Seniors were giving speeches, encouraging the Juniors to commit to something bigger than themselves and to always work hard. They spoke with surprising intelligence and shared their hopes and dreams for the future.

When they announced the incoming President of the National Honor Society, it was a bright, motivated, wonderful boy that I remember playing in the sandbox with my daughter when he was just 4 years old. All of us who have watched this young man grow up cheered. We shook his Dad’s hand and felt like we had all won something.

Now, not every kid will be a Super Genius. Some of them will always be middle of the road students, while others will struggle just to keep their heads above water. It may take a lot longer for these kids to “become something,” but then again, there were quite a few adults who thought that kid, Albert Einstein, was completely hopeless.



Sure, maybe some of them are lazy, pie-in-the-sky do-nothings. But weren’t some of us exactly the same way when we were young? I read a story once about a seemingly shiftless young man who spent his days sitting around on his college campus, discussing politics and philosophy, studying and partying, and telling girls who loved him “thank you” while he committed to nothing. That man was Barack Obama, our current president. Whether he’s your idea of a hero or an anti-hero, there’s no arguing that he’s achieved a whole lot more than some people ever thought possible.

Given time, you too could be a Super Genius

Given time, you too could be a Super Genius

I’ve heard it said that this generation isn’t up to the challenges they will face. Maybe we should just remember: they need conditions to be right to establish themselves before they can share their beauty and promise with the world.


Want to give your brain a boost? Here are some great dinner ideas that can help, including grilled salmon with tomatoes and basil, bean burgers with spicy guacamole, grilled halibut salmon nicoise and more.

Looking good

Looking good


Here are some tips to help boost everyone’s brain power, young and old:


So…what’s your favorite “dis” about the youngsters today? Do you know someone who gives you hope for the future? What’s your favorite brain food? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!




  1. Maria I was just talking about this the other day! I told my son that when we were growing up kids were so much more respectful. If your parent said something you didn’t like, you didn’t go back and forth with them. They also weren’t concerned about our self esteem. I had the nerve to say this as if it was a positive. At that moment I did feel as though it was. But now because of what you wrote I think differently. I remember my grandfather walking into the den while I was sitting on my couch watching T.V. In a very nice sweet way he said, “who has a better life than you!” At that moment I wanted to shout, I am obese, my friends are limited, my father left us, my mother has no money and you have dementia! I think everyone has a better life than me! ” But when my grandfather was growing up he didn’t have a T.V. so all he could see was me relaxing on the couch eating a Boston creme donut. ((there was always money for that) if one of my kids were sitting on the couch watching T.V. I would offer them a cool beverage and a warm snack. Just kidding. Maybe not, my self esteem is so low, I just want them to like me. :). Just kidding again, Thank you for making me think about my grandfather. (In a good way)

    Comment by Suzanne — May 7, 2014 @ 7:39 am | Reply

    • Suzanne, I have had the exact same conversation with my own kids! I do think our kids could learn a thing or two about respect, but I’m glad they are confident enough to tell me their opinions. You are obviously a great example of a late bloomer–you are smart, funny and successful now. Thanks for commenting. PS I still love Boston creme donuts!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 7, 2014 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  2. It seems to me that all older generations think the younger generations have it better than they did. Things are too soft, not tough enough. In fact it is all in the Jewish scriptures we call The Old Testament. So this gripe goes back as far as I can see to Adam and Eve who of course had no one before them to be complaining about them. In fact your description of today’s youth could have described me and my friends except of course for Clifford Vov Ark and Raymond Fiedler (I never hung with them). The electronic things for me was radio, even ones we carried around with us without having to plug a wire into the wall. The older I got, and I am sooooo OLD< the more I realized what I was complaining about was that "they" are young and I am not. Now that's like me seeing someone with too much hair and I have none. Get my drift? It is all a game. Wait till these crops of young kids grow and their life has some of the obligations that come with ageing, they will complain about the "younger generation" loudly. Why? Because they are not part of it. That's why? And so life goes on!!!!.

    Comment by Bglou — May 7, 2014 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  3. It’s funny Maria but the same topic you are writing about is what I have been thinking about for the past few months. I will be turning retirement age this year and look back on the way things were, what I have accomplished, and what is to come. The world is a different place, some for the better, some not so good. While I got to this point I was more relevant when I was younger because I fit into a demographic that mattered. When our grandparents reached this age they turned over the reins to the next generation (not really when it came to family control but when it came to work and taking responsibility). They downsized and lived a slower life. Now no one wants to give up control and stop living the life style they have come accustomed to living. This social change over the generations is in response to people living healthier, longer, lives and the fast pace changes in all aspects of the world. We use to worry about what was going on in our backyard, but now our backyard is half way across the world due to the advances in technology. Our grandparents had more control over their piece of the block than we do now because when we put things into perspective our piece of the block is so much smaller and uncontrollable because we see the outside forces that can affect what we do on a minute to minute basis. We see the global impact of how humans are destroying the world and have television shows to break it down fact by fact (or just like Step By Step, slowly I turn – Hope you understand this analogy but you might be too young). What have we done and what are the generations to come going to do? I remember being told by the older generation that I had it easy and had so many opportunities. Of course they were comparing their lives to mine at a time where medicine was not advanced and family members died of childhood illnesses, there was the Depression, wars (where every one had to go, not just volunteers), and limited access to education. Things got better, things got a little worse, the size of the family shrunk and dementia hit more families. Student loans have caused college grads to put off moving out of their parent’s house, getting married, buying a house of their own, and starting their family. I don’t even want to write about the facts about the environmental impact of the Earth’s growing population. So you ask if I have someone who give me hope for the future. The answer is yes. Kate, my special needs daughter sees the world as a place filled with great adventures (i.e. going to the food store or to the mall). She brings me back to a simple time when I didn’t worried about all of the above and just enjoy the moment. I know this is an escape but everyone does need to take the weight off there shoulders and view the world like Kate for at least a short period of time. With all that is going on it can be easy to focus on the negative and not appreciate the positive. I don’t know what the next phase of my life will bring but it probably will evolving as I go through it and the 100 year olds will tell me when I an 75 how easy I have it. I hope Kate’s positive view will still keep me going.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — May 7, 2014 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

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