School’s Out…Or Is It?
“Best. Day. Ever.” Came the text message from one of our kids. The certain sign that school is out for Summer Break, and that their reference as to what qualifies as ‘best’ is somewhat narrow. For the moment, it is ‘best’ simply because it is current, and nothing more. Over the course of the next three months, we expect to be bombarded with requests for sleepovers, pool party invitations, and group gatherings with no specific purpose other than to ‘hang’, all of which will be interspersed with moments when they will announce “I’m bored.”
One thing is clear. We are in a separate circle of hell known as teendom.
With each passing year, teendom as a concept never changes. Parents vs. kids. Filled with angst and eye-rolling, (theirs and ours) life in our home has been tempered with random skirmishes whilst the ever-adolescing neo-humanoid-units challenge us daily for their independence. Not that we’re unwilling to let them have it, (for the love of God, we SO want to let them have it) but we’d like them to have an understanding about how rapidly this world, their world, changes.
Our parents had a console stereo with a turntable, 8-track tape player, and ‘albums’ were cellophane wrapped vinyl records. Television sets still had dials, and electric coffee pots percolated. Their world was rapidly changing, and they wanted us to understand that.
When my parents were thrust into my teendom microwave ovens, cordless phones and cassette playing boomboxes, were the raging and current technology. The 8-track player was going the way of the dodo, and VCR’s were bringing commercial free movies to television (unless you already had HBO on cable). Video games were the newest form of entertainment, Asteroids and Pac-Man challenged our reaction time and improved our reflexes.
This was our world, our time, and we couldn’t see why our parents were making such a big deal of it. They just needed to open up and embrace the fact that the future was here.
So in the course of a few short decades, time has brought us into the future that our parents could not have predicted. Everything that we thought was so cool back then smacks of cheesiness today. Photos of permed hair and acid wash jeans evoke fits of giggles from our kids. We don’t even talk about mullets. Their present day reality contains smart phones, wi-fi, self parking cars, and instantaneous online status updates.
The difference in what we knew ‘then’ and what the kids have now can best be identified like this:
- “Friending” was something done by sharing the Twinkie from your lunch.
- “Tweeting” was what the birds did outside the window early in the morning.
- “Text” was followed by “book” and usually wrapped with a brown paper bag covering.
- Writing on someone’s wall was NOT a good thing, and could get you in serious trouble.
- Messaging was passing a note in English.
- Laughing Out Loud was heard not read
- Touch-Screen just meant you’d be wiping fingerprints off the T.V.
- 3-D was a novelty, nothing more.
So how do we dinoparents keep ourselves relevant? We don’t. We can’t. The kids look at us and see big-hair, acid-washed, asteroid playing dodo birds. Just as we scoffed at our parents, our kids are scoffing at theirs. But not for long. I have an idea, an idea that has morphed into a plan. They won’t know what hit them, there won’t be time to be bored, and for me it will be the: Best. Day. Ever.