My Teenager’s Take on the American Dream

american dream

I had to help my son with one of his final projects for English.  This is his take on the American Dream.  What are we doing to this fine country?  Are our teenagers growing up totally disillusioned and thinking the American Dream is just a myth from times gone by?

(Bedazzling done by me!)

39 replies »

    • Thanks!! I kind of worry about him. He is so cynical for being so young. But he calls it like he sees it, and I am afraid to say I think he might be right on the money regarding this issue.

  1. Bedazzled Beautifully. I see his cynicism as facing reality and I’m sure he’ll change as things change for him which I hope they do for the better.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • Thank-you!!! I think if anyone can change things, it will be him.
      PS: I’m glad you like the bedazzling – I tried to make it symbolic – less jewels at the bottom (fading). I love to bedazzle. Do you have anything you would like bedazzled? 🙂

  2. Sadly very true. People often tell youngsters how lucky they are and they have it all on a plate nowadays but they have a new set of worries many of which I am very glad to have missed by a generation. I feel for so many of my graduate students who come out of University with such huge debt hanging over them. I never had to face that. I see so many more mental health and behavioural problems at school now as children struggle to deal with family issues whether it be break ups, domestic violence and things like financial stress at home. To me it is the huge cost of education and the family life breakdown that are the biggies. Your son is clever enough to recognise these problems, I hope he will, with your help of course, think long and hard how to combat them for himself, his future family and his friends!

    • So true!!! I can’t imagine starting a new job and a new life burdened with such debt. I think the kids today have a much harder time than we did at their age, so much turmoil swirling around them. It is no longer enough to work hard and do all the right things anymore. And then they are constantly bombarded with all the media, people like the Kardashians, who flaunt their wealth and really have no reason for their success other than a really good marketing scheme. We spend a great deal of time discussing these issues at our house, and what it is my sons want to do with their lives. It’s interesting to see all their friends that basically grew up at our house with jobs and car payments, all trying to figure out how to make out there. Luckily my sons have some buffering room to take the time to figure things out. It’s definitely an interesting process to watch.

    • Thank-you. He certainly doesn’t have his head in the clouds. He calls it like he sees it. When he was little, I used to say he was a 32 year old in a 3 year old body.
      The one that bugs him the most is – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. He says people get ahead because of their connections nowadays, he finds that most frustrating.

      • Sadly, he’s correct. Hopefully as he gets older and wiser he will be able to navigate his waters more effectively – something tells me he will be alright 🙂

      • I agree – takes a while though, doesn’t it? There really is a lot to be said about “teenage angst!” I have two of them myself… 🙂

      • Ahhhh! So you know – teenagers are great. I usually have a house full of them, all boys – they seem to migrate over here. We are privy to some fascinating conversations.

      • Same here! I have one who just finished his freshman year in high school and one who just finished her freshman year in college! My house is more like a commune now – they sleep everywhere and eat everything. I just got back from a trip for work, and found “new friends” in my guest room’s bed! Every day is a trip!

      • Sure makes the house a lively place. At least we know they are safe when they are at home with their friends. I have a junior, soon to be a senior in highschool, and one that has survived his first year of college. He stayed in town, to attend University, because he felt like being a Freshman and trying to fend for himself was too much to take on all at once. Which I think is pretty smart. Our grocery bills are ridiculous (almost car payments every single week) because they are weightlifting and cutting. But the “cutting” does not seem to have applied to directly to the size of my grocery bills, seems to be an inverse correlation. I always think of that movie “Gremlins” when I watch my teenagers – don’t give them water or food after midnight – because you never know what is going to happen!

      • Great analogy! Yes, you’re right on having them safe at home, but there needs to be boundaries, and it seems like they are always throwing something new at me to contend with that I then have to think through! It’s exhausting!

      • It is. When they were toddlers it was physically exhausting, now they are teens it is mentally exhausting!!!!

  3. Sad.. hopefully not completely true or at least for your kids. The education debt is a huge one and here in Canada, a 4 year bachelor’s degree is just a start for many.. you need more than that. Tough. His awareness of it will help him to take strides to change it, I hope.

  4. First of all, nice job with the Bedazzling! Second, I think your kid is ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding life. Most youngsters simply accept what they’re taught as the gospel truth. It was an eye-opening experience for me when I first thought to myself “Wait a minute, that figure of authority is absolutely wrong!” Yes, the project does exude a certain cynicism, but that quality has an undeservedly bad connotation and I think his attitude will serve him well. The sooner you become aware that life isn’t fair and that there’s often something more to see behind the veneer of modern society, the better!

  5. My parents had the dream. They went to school, worked hard, and had the same job for over thirty years. Now school can’t guarantee you a job. And If you’re lucky enough to get a job – you’ll probably have to find another one within 5 years.

    • The whole thing sucks!! It breeds apathy and complacency because what’s the point? And kids today are smart and seem to be really in tune with what’s going on. They are so much more on the ball then my generation was. Of course, everything is cyclical, so maybe things will turn around. I sure hope so – for my kids and all their peers.

  6. Teenagers have the ability to sniff out all the BS that the previous generation tell them but fail to live up to. They can detect hypocrisy at 100 yards. It’s easy to mistake this for cynicism, but I think it’s actually what idealism looks like. I’m sure your son will go far!

    • Scary thing is, he either wants to a Corporate Lawyer or a personal fitness trainers. Hasn’t quite decided yet. But you are right – he certainly calls it like he sees it and does not tolerate fools.
      PS. Had to think about the idealism vs cynicism thing for a minute and you are right. Hadn’t looked at that way before.

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