Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Generation Moi

OK, so maybe 10 years old is a little young to be given the job of Person In Charge of the World. And maybe it's unfair to expect them to have true global awareness and be thinking of others when hypothetically asked what they would do with such power. But I was pretty disheartened to read what the 5th graders who are graduating from my son's school had to say on the topic, and it's likely because I was hoping for more.

If I Were In Charge of the World...

"I would cancel school; I would make playing video games an every day holiday."
"I would make video games cost less; I would let kids get paid for going to school."
"I would make a holiday where you get free video games; I would make recess all day."
"I would make a national Video Game Day; I would cancel school."
"There would be more video games; there would be grades no lower than a 'B.'"
"There would be a 2-hour subject where you played video games."
"I'd make homework a myth; I'd let us learn to play video games in school."

"I would put a mall in everyone's house; I would make recess all day."
"I would make the school a mall; I would end school early."
"I would go to the mall every day."
"I would turn the world into a mall; I would buy one million things."
"I would make every store an Abercrombie."
"I would make all things at the mall free; I would make summer longer."
"I'd have a mall the size of Boston."

Can you guess which were the boys and which were the girls? Can you see my concern over the direction these kids are heading? Can you believe how many examples there are?

Granted, there were some standouts in each class who wanted to cure all diseases, stop animal cruelty and end global warming and world hunger. But they were few and far between.

I guess my complaint is that these kids are on their way to middle school next year. Isn't that kind of a big deal? Shouldn't their parents be teaching them about the world, how to understand important issues, the responsibility that comes with power and the idea that they can change the world someday?

I know, I know, they're only TEN. But they already sound like self-centered, materialistic teenagers. Why? How is this happening? Someone is feeding these passions they have, and from the sound of it, it isn't their teachers.

Some may say it is my fear talking, my worry that my own child will sound like this next year. I prefer to think of it as a wake-up call. For all of us.


Anonymous said...

Oh my ! I can understand your worry. Do you think this is nationwide at this age or just the area where we live? One thing to hold onto though is you can influence your kids and that's a start -- the seeds you sow will eventually grow and spread.

Andy said...

Hey Chris - I have a just graduated from 5th grader too. I don't know what she would say- hopefully something better than anything that included the words video game or mall. The commercialization of children is shameful, in this country. It's not, I am coming to truly understand, a very brave country. We don't tend to stand up to big industry (Sony, Nintendo, Marlboro, etc.), or big politicians. We let our kids get caught in the crossfire w/out even trying to protect them. We = average American. Average American knows about 10 words of the Declaration of Independence, no more than 5 consecutively. Average American earns enough, but not enough to build a better, less carbon demanding house. Average American has degrees, but little sense. Average American is me, and maybe you. We all try a little, in ways that are meaningful to us, but in the end, the commercialization of our kids is going to plague us for centuries, I think. And I think about this. The good news is that you, and I, and even Average American, can do whatever we want to about it - chuck out the TV. Go to museums. Talk at the table. Go on a road trip. Change movies to games (real games, with turns and pieces that move on a board haha!) and cartoons to songs. Anything is possible - just go there in your mind and be like Captain Picard. Make It So. (Did I just quote TV?)