Ava Julian

Adults are constantly telling us to make choices that they don’t make themselves.

Ayma Malik, Opinion, A&E Editor

“Act your age” is something adults, especially our parents, are always telling us. We’re told to “stop being childish,” “handle our problems maturely,” and to “respect others.” But despite drilling these ideals into our heads, adults don’t always practice what they preach. 

Take the adults who berate fast food workers on TikTok for example. The adults who start yelling at servers for getting their orders wrong, and then record it and post it for millions to see. As an adult with children, or mortgages, or six-digit incomes of their own, snapping at young workers for a slight inconvenience is embarrassing and immature. I haven’t worked fast food specifically, but I have worked at a cafe and smoothie place as a barista. At both places, I’ve had customers have full meltdowns over mistakes that I didn’t even make.

At the smoothie place, I was often the only person working, (other than the manager who literally would stay in the break room all day). On multiple occasions, I was making smoothies for the customers inside, while punching in orders for the people in the drive-thru. It was easy to mix up orders, considering I would be making multiple orders at the same time.

One time, a woman from the drive-thru came inside and started yelling at me for giving her the wrong order. I understand getting upset, but she was borderline screaming at me.I was very obviously also the only person working, and I was also making two drinks when she started screaming at me, and all it did was infuriate me. I understand being upset over the drink, but I was clearly swamped and screaming at me, threatening to “get me fired,” is not helping either of us. For me to be the one behaving maturely in that situation was difficult for me to comprehend.

When you point out that an adult is behaving hypocritically, especially parents, they’re quick to reprimand the child or teen for being “disrespectful” or say they can behave how they want because they are older, more mature. How does that portray them as a person? When you behave exactly how you tell me not to behave, and then refuse to acknowledge your hypocrisy, it simply makes me lose respect for you. You become someone that I use as a guideline on how NOT to act, both currently and in the future once I’m an actual adult.

I, admittedly, have a lot of negative traits, and most of them are apparent and known to the people I care about. Those traits are also the ones I try to keep my younger brother from developing. It does make me feel hypocritical sometimes, because I’ll act a certain way and then go and tell him to never act that way. But I think what makes my actions different is that I can acknowledge how I display hypocrisy. I’m not defending my behavior, but I’m also not denying it. 

While I can personally distinguish between how to act and how not to, if generation after generation keeps being hypocritical like this, behaviors will never change. Doing what you know is wrong, refusing to acknowledge its wrong, and then trying to stop other people from doing it will make absolutely no difference in the world. Again, adults don’t have to be perfect all the time, but they do need to be honest. Admitting to and correcting your mistakes should be what maturity is all about, not hypocrisy and feeling superior to those younger than you.