I honestly don’t know which is more disturbing in this program: the 20-year-old children whose staggering sense of entitlement dwarfs any responsibility, the parents who simultaneously condemn and excuse them…or the way Young, lazy and driving us crazy reflects on my own parenting.
Young, lazy and driving us crazy takes ten Gen Y kidults and puts them in a house for eight weeks, challenging them to master the basics of life: cooking, cleaning, shopping, working. It’s brilliantly hosted by the laconic Lawrence Mooney, who introduces us to children who are on the brink of driving their parents nuts. “At the moment I have a giant 10-year-old,” says mother of Charlie, who openly asks, “Why would you want to work? I can’t see the point.” Then there’s Helen who despairs over 20-year-old Alice who left Uni after an $80K private school education because she’s ‘in no hurry to get a job’:
“I don’t think she’s ever had to struggle and I think that’s definitely something she has to experience to get an idea of what it’s like out there in the world.”
And though it’s undoubtedly entertaining to watch the kids flounder around with the most basic tasks, it’s not long before the parents are the ones coming under the microscope. The introductions they provide for their sons and daughters suggest their progeny aren’t the only clueless ones. Like Lou, who plays the bank for his daughter Jenna:
“I let her get away with a lot, pay for everything… She likes the glamorous life and she doesn’t have work. What are you supposed to do?”
I don’t know – maybe, ‘Stop’ would be a good start? I don’t want to be simplistic. There are parents in this show who are clearly struggling financially and who are alone in raising another human being, arguably the hardest job on the planet. But it becomes clear very quickly that many are in a pickle because they don’t understand parenting themselves. They could, of course, shunt the blame back on their own upbringing, or maybe society in general. In that they would mirror their own kids. The most painful part of the program has to be when the mums and dads get together to decide which of their children should be kicked out of the group house. At that stage of the evening it’s not Gen Y making the excuses. But I would suggest that their parenting problems – and ours – begin when we took our eyes of the original Father.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!”
What some of the parents in Young, lazy and driving us crazy begin to learn from the first episodes is that the pre-requisite to growing an adult is to treat a child like an adult, with all of the attendant responsibilities, rewards and consequences. This seems cruel in our cotton-wool world but the Bible says it’s actually love. And God aims at far more than just producing healthy humans, but those who love their Creator as they should. Watching the series made me think very carefully about the way I shape my children. In disciplining them I not only prepare them for life, I prepare them to understand the love of God.
Release Date: Thursdays, 9:00 PM