We have a NEETS problem!
Although not a new term, it is being applied more frequently in the US and it means:
Not in Education, Employment or Training
It refers specifically to a class of people, generally 18 - 34 depending on the country; 16-24 in the UK and 16-34 in Japan for example.
This is not a cultural phenomena based on country of origin, but it is most commonly seen in Westernized cultures.
Most of us would generally agree that we see this at almost epidemic proportions in the US. We all know one or more young person who has made a choice not to participate as a productive member of our society.
We have a very large number who are sitting at the edge of NEET by barely working (just enough to marginally get-by or fooling around with school because it's easier).
Within this demographic of 18-34 year old men in America (this is not exclusive to men, but this is where it is most destructive and predominant) we see an increasing number who would rather live on parents, friends, off of the government, etc. than to get out and work.
- Some find their way into useless education milking government grants because it's better than going to work.
- Many you will find living at home with parents because parents don't have the courage to kick them out.
- Some you will find living almost communally because it's cheap and easy.
- Most you will find on some sort of government assistance.
Granted the lack of economic growth and job creation has contributed to this problem in the past decade. Generally though, availability of some kind of work is not the real issue, people who wanted it found it.
The biggest contributor is the lack of accountability from, and neglectful rearing, by parents. By neglectful parenting I mean parents who coddle their kids rather than teach them to work hard, earn money, pay their way and come to understand and experience personal accountability. At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, this primary responsibility for enforcement falls on the father.
I also understand there are exceptions to this rule. Parents can do all the right things and your child could still become a NEET due to no fault of your own. Why does this happen? The culture of "low expectations", and coddling by government with the ease of access to programs, makes it harder for parents to hold their young adults accountable.
And it's not just about a job. It includes Education and Training. They simply aren't doing anything productive for themselves or society. They essentially become leeches. They would rather be lazy than be inconvenienced by the investment of time and energy to work, go to school seriously, or get training for a skill as an apprentice somewhere.
I know that is tough talk, but what else do you call an organism that attaches itself to a host and feeds off it? They may wake up when they get into late twenties, or even into their thirty's. But what a tragedy to lose all those years of their lives.
Until parents and government quite coddling and enabling these young people, each with enormous God given potential, and "cut them off" from all forms of financial support - they will continue to take the path of least resistance.
We need to support them appropriately with encouragement and love, they are not to be discarded. But true encouragement and love will look harsh to them, and to the other bleeding heart, progressive types who have created the situation. It means telling them:
- "No" when they need some money or food
- "No" when the need some money for gas
- "No" when they want to come live in your home
It means looking them in the eye and telling them, "Because I love you I won't help you."
This is simply a product of the progressive ideas that have accelerated under Baby Boomer parents, and have become ingrained in our cultural through our families, our institutions (including school). It's the product of generations of lowering expectations across every area of life.
We often hear the phrase "I want my kids to have a better life than me". But "better" often is translated "easier" and that is not loving. That is irresponsible and harmful. The Hippocratic Oath is often quoted as "do no harm" and I think that is often and exactly what many (including and especially our government) are doing unintentionally; harming our young people.
What's the solution? It begins at home. As a parent you must hold high standards and expectations for your kids. You must hold them accountable for personal decisions. You must teach them early on and reinforce consistently, the biblical truth in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
Our institutions must support parents by reforming and creating an accountable class rather than an entitlement class (Vote! That is the only way that changes). But we cannot depend on a corrupt power structure like government that is too concerned with self-preservation than doing what is right.
So what do you do as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, or mentor of a NEET? Get a proper and healthy definition of "love" in your mind, read up, get tough and help them by making the current "nest" they are in too uncomfortable and force them into responsible, mature, healthy behavior.
You can find a very practical resource for this in my book Boys To Men - The Lost Art of the Rite of Passage. There are lots of great resources available today through books, podcasts, publications, classes. Want a great starting place? The book of Proverbs in the Bible.
The problem in it's entirety is enormous! But if we will each do our part with the NEETS in our lives, those young people still malleable in our care, we can make a difference. Start with your own. Then care enough to become aware of whats going on around you and support causes, people and policies that will help these young people, not hurt them.
Let's be part of the solution!