Lauretta Hannon: Guilty as charged
by Lauretta Hannon
February 18, 2014 12:00 AM | 2775 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Q: Why aren’t the schools preparing the graduating kids who are going out into the workforce like we were? They don’t understand that oddly-colored hair, numerous facial piercings, tattoos everywhere, and “I see London, I see France, I can see your underpants” skirts are not appropriate for the office. They haven’t taught them how to write a resume, and when you ask them to mark sex on the application, they have not a clue that “yes” is not the correct response. Also putting up Facebook photos of yourself drunk on the town with your friends or pursing your lips like you’re about to French-kiss a baboon probably isn’t going to impress anyone except the hiring manager at an exotic dance club.

A: First of all, let me commend you for writing an entertaining question! This column is only as interesting as the questions it gets, and I’m certain that yours has just prompted a few smiles out there.

The phenomena you describe result primarily from poor parenting, but there are other factors at play such as a society that prizes the shallow and an educational system that has become emasculated.

Of course, some of it is just immaturity and the developmental stage these kids are in. Their brains are still growing, and self-expression, mirror-gazing and “image” are everything during this phase.

Another consideration is how over-indulgent parenting, combined with a wussy culture, breeds weak young people. These recent high school grads have never been forced to think on their own. Instead, they have been “rescued,” handed everything they needed and wanted and then some. That’s why a job application baffles them. That’s why they follow the herd of their peers who post “sexy” and “cool” images on social media. They have not been taught to question or go beneath the surface, and they have not faced meaningful consequences for bad behavior.

Last week, I returned from a national education conference and was struck by the “wussification” that was prevalent. In one session, the presenter reminded us that “harsh, negative” language must always be avoided, especially when a student has done something very wrong. You must never refer to him as “guilty,” she said. Refer to him as the “responsible student” instead. Do not punish the student either, as punitive actions are part of the dim, dark past, and we are enlightened now. I’m sorry, but I’m just way more Old Testament than that. A little shame and discomfort are time-proven motivators. And as a writer, I couldn’t help but imagine how dull a book would be if such language were used — heck, it could become the new cure for insomnia.

Before some of you get all riled up, remember that I’m not talking about every young adult, only the ones described in the reader’s question. In my work in education, I am encouraged and inspired daily by what I witness in students. But a society that rewards the mindless and flashy over the spiritual and thoughtful undermines the good of everyone.

Send your questions and comments to

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Your Job
February 18, 2014
I just have to comment on this person's question. The courses and behaviors mentioned by this writer are NOT ones that are or should be taught by high schools or in colleges.

Being a person in my 60s, I do think I can give a valid observation.

When I was in school 1-12th, there was never a course on resume writing, how to interview for a job, how to balance a checkbook, and so forth. When I went to college these same subjects were never offered as a credit course. And I have not seen them now in any college. The job related ones are offered in non-credit workshops at college or community schools.

When it comes to dress and makeup, these are also addressed in these non-credit courses.

Otherwise, these behaviors are taught and coached by parents and mentors. However, when the children have parents who never learned the proper work behaviors, then chances are the children will not know them either. They have to have the desire to succeed in a traditional business environment.

Not every job can be a creative, free spirit environment AND that is what some of these young people have a hard time realizing. Even in jobs with Fortune 500 corporations, the managers/directors sometimes avoid telling an employee that their dress attire is not proper, which leads other employees to become lax also. I have seen it and my grown children have it in their workplace now.

My main point for this questioner is- Resume writing, interview behaviors, proper dress, those are all behaviors that are taught by parents, mentors or in classes sought by the young person. NOT the responsibility of teachers in the 1st-12th grades. The schedule is too short now to teach all the math, science, history, grammar, and so on needed for college.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides