Aaron was born in the time period known as the Y generation, similar to all the children in our family ie. born roughly in the 1980s to the middle of the 90s. These are usually the children of Baby Boomers and people in early Gen X. Generation Y grew up with many world-changing events including the rise of mass communication and the Internet as described in a generation chart here. He grew up to become a computer programmer, probably a Geek with good programming skills and even hacking skills. This could be naturally so as his father Robert Swartz had the background of a computer programmer who started a software firm in Chicago, Illinois.
As I could relate to Steve Jobs as the founder of Apple Computers due to the experience of my early days in starting a business of supplying Apple compatibles to corporations in Malaysia, I am also able to relate to Aaron with a father in the software business as I had also ventured into the software business not long after the hardware business was set up. Besides the common business application programs like accounting or payroll that our team could source or develop, and then market and support, I knew our team had exceptional programming skills in the low level language of assembler to be able to produce what I called 'Geek like' products. The following are some press releases of our venture :
In January 2014 at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah, a documentary film made about his life had its world premier with the title, 'The Internet's Own Boy : The Story of Aaron Swartz'. The video below tells more about his life with interviews with his father and brother :
I am aware of another case where a documentary was produced to show a similar abuse of power by the authorities in the US to prosecute a medical doctor. Watch the movie and be a judge of the case :
Now on to the subject of our raising Y generation kids from my memory of it and starting with good advice from the Richard and Linda Eyre who visited Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in the previous month of April :
They also have a blog following the title of the book ie The Entitlement Trap and one can read this introductory post to know why parents say “Entitlement” is the biggest problem of this Generation of Kids.
The following is my recent facebook post :
My last comment above in the facebook post on 'striking a creative optimal balance' is probably the best description of how I had tried to raise a family, not 1 or 2 kids but 6 together with my dear wife who sacrificed much for all of us. The foundation of having the M culture was a plus as playfully described in our Christmas Story of 2013 and more seriously in a spiritual post of the Next Generation. We balanced hard work with fun and play, pains with humor and laughter with mindful thoughts and firmness in our planning but heartfelt patience and forgiveness when plans fail. A paradox of opposites to be balanced as the cherished prayer of General Douglas MacArthur, a famous war hero in the USA :
Build me a son, O God, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know thee - and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men. One who will reach into the future, yet, never forgets the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never takes himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength,
Then I, his father, will dare whisper, "I have not lived in vain!"
But there is a challenge for the Y generation to attain such a balance. They are the generation that have become soft from a time like in the computer era where hardware dominance gave way to software supremacy, creating a world wide web that figuratively captures the hearts and minds of the next generation. This virtual world can blur the divide between what is good and bad, and users expect lifes blemishes can be easily removed with instagram!
I believe there is no single formula or exercise to optimally develop the brain and mind of a child. The Y generation kids enjoy incredible sensations of the computer and the internet but the truth is ....