It seems that each generation regards successive generations as “softer” than their own. Remember the “I walked six miles to school in the snow” stories our parents and grandparents told us? As a mother of a sixth-grader, I’ve personally noticed certain traits about my son and other kids his age. They seem more sure of themselves and their place in the world in a way than I was then. Although some of this can be chalked up to adolescent bravado, I believe that, in general, today’s children are more savvy and sophisticated than we were. Many possess a kind of confidence that life is going to go their way and that good things are their due. These are actually positive qualities. I worry, however, whether my son has the ability to bounce back from hardship. Can he take constructive criticism? And will he be able to handle crushing disappointments when they come?
Many of the young soldiers in today’s Army also seem to have this sense of surety, and—dare I say it?—entitlement. At the same time, I think there is a fragility about them that leaves them terribly vulnerable in times of trouble. The news is rife with stories about the increase in military suicides over the past several years and I wonder if young people are less resilient than previous generations. (Of course, the Army is merely a microcosm of society, reflecting the same strengths and weaknesses that the United States as a whole is dealing with.) The common media theme is that suicides in the Army are at an all-time high because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), caused by deployment-related injuries and stress. The truth of the matter is that many of the soldiers who attempt suicide have never deployed and many are on their first enlistment. This is not to imply that there are not legitimate situations in which deployment-related PTSD and subsequent suicidal ideations do occur.
You must login to view the full content on this page.
Or, use your linked account: