We have allowed life to become boring because we rely on instant gratification. I was listening to the Fan 590 on Saturday morning, and one of the hosts was talking about watching baseball and how he enjoys watching baseball much less now than he did as a kid. Many people in their mid-20s and younger don’t enjoy sitting through a baseball game, or even watching it on TV. Of course there are exceptions to that, but the point the host was trying to make was that people’s need for instant gratification is slowly but surely chipping away at parts of our lives that used to have much more meaning and joy.

The more we rely on our phones and iPads as tools of entertainment, free forms of babysitting — the less ability we have to process lower levels of stimulation. We decrease our ability to connect to others emotionally and behave appropriately in social contexts.

It starts with the way kids are treated these days. I’m around kids a lot in the volunteering that I do as well as the jobs I work throughout the school year and summer. A lot of kids these days get everything they want the second they want it. Even if they don’t get what they want when they want it every single time, the few times they are asked to wait patiently for something, they become irritated and cranky.

There’s a bigger picture here, for all of us. People who don’t get the results they want right away want to quit or do something different. People who don’t get instant gratification struggle with adversity and being challenged — but if we never allow kids and those around us to be challenged and have to work through imperfect situations, they simply won’t have any ability to work under stress at all.

There’s still value in having rules, in saying no to people. There has to be resilience and adaptability instilled in youth today so that when they grow up and get a job in a world where things haven’t taken such a drastic change — they are able to work through stress, challenges, and delayed gratification.