Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Getting Soft in our Old Age?

Take a moment to read the above article. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Okay, now that we’ve got the words in our heads I’m here to tell you the entire article is a bunch of crap.

Allow me to explain.

As a child of the eighties I’ll be the first one to say I can’t for one second imagine how hard it would be to raise a child in this day and age. The internet age of constant connection, communication, everything you could ever want right at your fingertips. All the time. Anytime.

It absolutely breeds a sense of blithe ambition. Nobody has to work to learn. It’s all right there. Easy breezy.

But it also helps to add a sense of entitlement that everything should be just that easy to get.

Because it is.

However, here’s where I sat and took a long hard look back at my own childhood and the pop culture influences I had. The fictional heroes we all looked up to, tried to emulate. And though the good Doctor who wrote that article makes some good points, I think they forgot about quite a few god-awful examples.

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t thoroughly enjoy a good chunk of the shows and movies I’m about to list (some are still favorites) or that there weren’t some gems about tolerance, respect or loyalty (because there were), but let’s not get it twisted and try to glorify how awesome and perfect it was back then because there was plenty for our parents to complain about too.

Right off the top of my head here’s a few I remember:

Porky’s (1981) – misogyny is the name of the game from the moment you see the movie poster. We taught a whole generation of boys it’s okay to spy on high school girls in the shower without their knowledge or consent. Classy.

Moonlighting (1985-1989) – where to begin? The basic premise of the show is that female bosses are shrews when they insist their male employees actually work for their paychecks. Not to mention, no matter how much of a screw up he is, how many times he threatens their livelihood with his antics he still gets the girl in the end. Uh-huh.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – I’ve mentioned this movie before and basically in the same vein as this post. Suffice to say we all learned it’s okay to skip school, trash property and disrespect everyone as long as you don’t get caught and let your friends take the fall. How big of you.

The Breakfast Club (1985) – five teens, during a full day of detention, smoke weed in the school library, among other pursuits, while the sole authority figure fumbles around like a bumbling idiot.

Gremlins (1984) – what better way to say Merry Christmas than seeing your entire town trashed by a bunch of aliens simply because a teenager couldn’t manage the responsibility of owning his first pet?

Fraggle Rock (1983-1987) – a bunch of entitled kids live for free underground, take advice from a heap of trash and constantly destroy the hard working Doozer’s construction projects just because they want a snack. And it’s cool that the only adult in the bunch spends all his time traveling and judging humans.

Top Gun (1986) – generally be a dickhead to everyone and sleep with your teacher. Just cry over your BFF’s death while staring at yourself in a mirror and come back later to teach the same class and everyone will forgive you.

Any show where a female was in charge and she wasn’t a bitch or in need of a man to come swooping in to save the day (19?? – today) – a seemingly novel concept in any generation from the dawn of entertainment. Anything which breaks this mold is considered “groundbreaking” even today. (And on a side note, entertainment where men aren’t allowed to cry/show emotions at all or are constantly “scolded” by their wives like they’re children make me want to scream just as much)

Anyway, I’ll stop there but suffice to say there are loads more examples I could use to further prove the point.

However, I think the thing that stands out to me the most from the article above is this:

Yes, the world might be different now than when I was a kid. But when I was a kid we were afraid of the wrath of our parents (even if we didn’t admit to it) and at ten most of us were barely allowed to use the telephone let alone have one of our own to stare at while in a doctor’s office waiting room.

So where does the real ownness lie?

Should it be on the so-called role models of the screen that kids can’t tear their eyes away from, or on the parents who have full authority to force them to put down the tech and just be kids for a change?

I don’t pretend to know the answer. Even if I had kids of my own I couldn’t tell you the answer. All I know is there needs to be some kind of dialogue about the difference between reality (your parents have the right to punish you when you mouth off to them) and fantasy (everything you see on a screen of any sort) so kids these days understand and respect the difference.

Article first read on Facebook here

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1 comment:

Launna said...

I raised on child in the 80's and one now... my youngest daughter has a smart phone but she can only use it on wifi... she complains sometimes... I remind her she is 12 and I'm the mama.

There's pros and cons to both time periods... I like that I can text my youngest at anytime to see how it's going. My youngest is a really sweet girl ... but she is 12...lol

I think raising children in difficult no matter what but I do think it's getting harder overtimes. I also agree that parent have to expect respect...xox