What's Wrong with America's Kids? Compare Christmas Then (1913) & Now (2013)


Let’s face it: There is something very, very wrong with kids today. It seems as though there are hordes of young psychopaths running around, wreaking havoc on others.

Two recent examples, and the reasons that I refer to these young people as psychopaths, are the “Knockout Game” in which a mob of youths target a random victim and punch him or her in the face, hoping to knock them unconscious with one blow, and the boy in Texas who got away with the murder of 4 innocent people because he was too wealthy to be punished like a normal person would have been.

Psychopathy is defined as either an aspect of personality or as a personality disorder, characterized by enduring dissocial or antisocial behavior, a diminished capacity for empathy or remorse, and poor behavioral controls or fearless dominance. (source)

Lots of research has been done exploring whether psychopaths are born or created by circumstances. In the case of these teens, I believe that our society has created them. They have been raised with an entitlement mentality. They have parents who either ignore them and are not present, or who give in to every whim and constantly try to give them the “wow” factor, forever upping the ante with bigger and better gifts and experiences. Kids, even those who are mainly ignored and neglected are still constantly stimulated with television programs, movies, the internet, and cell phones. Their needs are met electronically and this removes the very vital element of empathy from their lives.

When every day is a trip to Disneyworld, how are you going to be satisfied with climbing a tree and finding animals in the clouds that float by?

When your entertainment consists of stealing cars, running down hookers, and shooting into crowds of people, like one popular video game, how will you be entertained by going skating or taking a walk in the woods?

I came across an article about the Christmas wish lists in 1913 versus this year’s wish lists, and I believe that the list says it all. The differences illustrated in these two lists define our society, then and now.

In 1913, the yearned-for items were mostly simple ones. Many of them could be homemade by a loved one who cared enough to take the time to do so. The toys on the lists were “imagination toys” that required kids to playact scenarios in their minds.

1. Candy

2. Nuts

3. Rocking horse

4. Doll

5. Mittens/gloves

6. Toy train

7. Oranges

8. Books

9. Handkerchiefs

10. Skates

Fast forward to 2013. The most popular toys on the list are electronic stuffed animal that dispenses affection and companionship on command. Personally, the only items on this list I would have ever gotten my kids were the dollhouse, the Nerf Gun, and the Lego.

1. Furby Boom

2. Teksta Robotic puppy

3. LeapPad Ultra

4. Flying Fairy

5. Bug Hugs Elmo

6. Barbie Dream house

7. Giggly Monkey

8. Nerf Gun

9. Ninja Turtles

10. Lego

When you are forever seeking a greater “wow” factor in your belongings and your experiences, you’re doomed to either be completely unsatisfied or to turn into the kind of little psychopath that we see every time we look at the news. If you are always looking for some type of excitement and stimulation that tops the last episode, then you will never be content with simplicity. If you look to your electronic devices for companionship and entertainment, you can’t fully develop a love and empathy for your fellow man. Those random people on the street simply become a character in the video game that is your life, and causing them pain and harm means as little to you as pushing the buttons on your video game controller.

This Christmas, instead of going broke and focusing on the number of extravagant packages under the tree, focus on experiences. Focus on small simple things that you can’t buy from the store. Homemade candy and cookies. Singing Christmas carols together. Going out with hot cocoa and looking at Christmas lights in a brightly decorated neighborhood. Have a snowball fight.

Children who grow up with traditions and with families who are present do not grow up to punch innocent strangers in the face or mow down pedestrians without regard. They develop qualities like empathy and kindness. They become productive members of society.

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About Daisy Luther
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]
  • Bighoss

    When I was in grade school, we lived 10 miles from the school and there was no bus service. I walked to and from school each day, rain, shine, ice or snow. It was uphill both ways. Our school lunch was cornmeal mush mixed with dirt and we were glad to get it. Now tell me your story.

  • 4everBfree

    Well thank a liberal for the degeneration of the family and the moral fabric of this country.

    • patsy1715

      The womens movement didn't help. It has come back to bite many women in the backside.

  • 1coachretired1

    Kids are a product of their family, and the family is a product of the times and the culture! Therefore if the culture embraces the secular humanism and the relativism of music,movies,and the media of radio,TV,and internet, and has detain for the traditions of the solid absolutes of religion- what is right/wrong and good and evil-then what is ingrained,taught,allowed and fostered is a "do your own thing" -"If it feels good-do it" and there is no "judging" of the other guy-have "tolerance" even for intolerant!

    And the evil ,yes EVIL, of multiculturalism divides and separates all cultures into groups who have their own traditions,rules and regulations-rather than a melding of ideas,support,and beliefs that foster respect and honor for all that makes us civilized!

  • bull57

    I was born in the 50's and Christmas so much different. So much simpler, playing outside, sledding, building snow forts and even if things weren't great it seemed everyone was happy on Christmas. Everyone went to church and remembered what Christmas was really about, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. As a parent I have to except responsibility of the changes. Shame on me!!!

  • rosech

    We were poor so we got ONE gift from Santa and were happy to get it. The Mayor of Kansas City, MO at that time held a Christmas party downtown and we each got a net bag of Christmas candy and that was super. Spoil the child and spare the rod really worked best for discipline and love in those days. Today, give them anything but shut them up. Frankly, if a couple do not really want to parent and raise responsible thinking children, then get him operated on or her and problem solved for them and for the community and civilization!

  • Ron Alford

    The problem is that Jesus is no longer the center of everything like He was prior to 1962. Jesus said, 'Without me you can do nothing, with me you can do all things'.

  • patriotrenegade

    Merry Christmas to all.

  • fliteking

    Back in the day boy's weren't vermin to be drugged and emotionally beat into girl-like sub humans.

    Nope, Christmas Day was about family, Christ and FUN!

    What was your favorite gift? Mine was a Daisy BB Gun .

    • http://people.ign.com/stormfuror StormFuror

      My boy has one under the tree this year ;)

    • fliteking

      Excellent.

    • rosech

      And we had to hunt and fish for food and no one got shot whiling doing so. We knew what was right and what was wrong, we had discipline, taught to be courteous, respect our elders, and keep quiet, and be in bed no later than 7 p.m. As a teacher later we knew each child up to the age of 14 needed a minimum of 9 hours sleep. Today, TVs and computers in the bedroom and they are not ready for school and learning. Dumbed down, ignorant, rude, ill-mannered, fussy, nasty, etc., etc. is what we see today. Thanks to you who call yourself parents but have no raised your progeny.

    • Bighoss

      And in the county schools I attended, no one gave a second thought to a boy bringing a knife to school. It was commonplace for boys to sharpen their pencils with a pocket knife--and sometimes sharpen their girl friends' pencils as well. It was legal back then to own a switch-blade knife and a number of those were carried by boys at my school. No one entertained even the most remote notion of using a knife to attack another person. Seems that has changed a bit.

    • Bighoss

      That 50-shot Daisy pump gun is the model I got for Christmas when I was 6 years old. "Horrors!", someone says; you mean your parents let you have that gun when you were only six??!!

      Well, yes they did, and my dad gave me all the training I needed to use it safely and I never misused the thing. The muzzle velocity of that gun was not very impressive; you could actually see the BB in flight once it got about 35 feet or so from the gun. I knocked off a pretty fair number of nuisance birds, though, mostly English sparrows and starlings, which (lest anyone be tempted to show outrage) are exotic invasive species and which have no protection under any U.S. wildlife laws.

      That was MY favorite gift also.

    • fliteking

      Finally, we found common ground, likely the last time, but still common ground. Merry Christmas and God Bless.