Kids these days. Am I right?
With their video games and their phones and their computers. Thank God for parents like us to teach them what being a kid REALLY means.
But do we know? Do we REALLY know what being a kid means?
I had the BEST childhood. In the spring/summer/fall, I left the house at 9 a.m. and didn’t come home until the street lights came on. I built forts and swam in the lake and ran rampant all over the neighborhood. My parents took us camping all of the time (shout out to Jellystone Park in Traverse City), road trips to anywhere, drive-ins, fishing, etc., etc., etc. I loved my childhood. It was blissful.
However, when I wasn’t making those memories – I was bored as shit.
Kids these days, because they have us as parents, will have the same adventures we did as kids – we will make sure of it. We made these memories when we were young, and kids – you will too. Because damn it – that’s what childhood is all about: camping, bonfires, sleep overs, sledding, snowman building, etc., etc., etc.
“Okay, so we did that mom. Now what?”
The Technology Generation
We take our kids on adventures. They play outside. They get dirty. They build stuff. They play with their friends.
Street lights are on, time to come home. Now they have some downtime. What to do?
Right at this very moment, my 9-year-old son is on YouTube teaching himself how to rap like Eminem. In a few minutes, he’ll probably be teaching himself how to build something out of the piece of plywood and cardboard boxes we have in the garage. Tomorrow he will, without a doubt, be on YouTube teaching himself how to draw.
Like it or not, he’s fucking learning.
So what if he can’t (and will never learn to) write in cursive? Or know what the Dewey Decimal System is? Or ever have to memorize a phone number and call from a pay phone?
He won’t learn any of that shit because he doesn’t have to. Ever. Why? Because there were people who are a lot smarter than you or I that decided to make life easier on the next generation. Just like you or I will never know what it’s like to wash our clothes without a washing machine.
The generation we are raising is hard to raise because we have no idea what it’s like to grow up in a world where information is so available. All of the knowledge the world has ever, ever known is literally
in the palm of their hands at any given moment with just one click. Why should we expect them not to take advantage of that?
As soon as you get done checking Facebook, let me know if you disagree.
Remember Baby Jessica?
In 1987, I was 9-years-old and GLUED to my TV as I watched rescue workers struggle for 58 hours trying to save baby Jessica. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, 18-month-old Jessica McClure was playing in her aunts backyard when she fell into a 22-foot well and became trapped. CNN covered the story, and the nation watched in anticipation for the little girl to come out of the well unharmed.
“Yeah, of course I remember” you’re probably thinking to yourself. “What in the hell does this have to do with anything?”
In 2015, the internet = baby Jessica’s aunts backyard; the terrible shit that can happen to a curious little mind on the internet = the well.
It’s our job as parent navigating in this territory to watch our kids closely on the interwebs to ensure they don’t encounter danger.
Parental supervision, people. It’s not hard.
Note: “Baby Jessica” was safely rescued and I cried my face off, as did the entire nation.
Every generation teaches the one before
The best part about my generation parenting the new generation is that the new generation is teaching my generation, just as we taught our parents’ generation.
My parents were born in the early 50’s, so they grew up in an age I can’t even fathom. Their parents were born the same year the Titanic sunk. My great-grandparents used oil lamps to light their homes. (This may or may not be true. I have no idea if my great-grandparents used oil lamps to light their homes. I assume anything before 1900 was the Stone Age, which means I also assume my great-grandparents used grunts to communicate instead of actual words).
My point is generations move at the speed of light, and we teach the generation before us the new ways of the world. I remember teaching my parents about CDs and how much better they were than the cassette tape. I can only assume my parents had the same conversation with their parents about the 8-track and how much better they were than vinyl records.
As a parent of two children growing up in the technology generation, I choose to embrace what they teach me as much as I expect them to embrace what I am teaching them.
I can say with 100% confidence that 50% of the time, I have no idea what I am doing when parenting my kids. As they grow older and learn more about how to navigate in this world, I learn more about how to guide them.
And one day, I will realize that they were the ones guiding me all along.
Kids these days. Am I right?