Gaps in Learning

“What’s that?”

I’m watching a movie with my kids. In this particular scene, someone is putting a record on a record player. This is not high-brow stuff. What could they not understand? “What’s what?” I ask.

“What’s that black, round thing?”

Oh . . .no . . .she . . .didn’t. She did not just ask me what a record was. These kids are 11 years old. How could this have happened? Unless. . . Crap, I knew I shouldn’t have let them swallow all that toothpaste when they were toddlers. It’s gone and dumbed them down.

“Uh, you mean the record?”

“Ohhhhhh, that’s what a record is.”

These are the people we are trusting to take care of us when we’re old. They’ll be running the country and deciding the fate of the world. If any of that involves vinyl, we’re screwed.

To help open their innocent eyes, just a little peek at a time, I decide to show them some videos that were popular when MTV actually showed music videos. We used to have to sit for hours waiting on our favorite video and soak it all up for those short three minutes or so. Now, I can Google “Wang Chung” or “Kajagoogoo”, and can watch as many times as I want. Freaky. I showed them Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. They wanted to know who the guy was that was dancing. “Duh! That’s Michael Jackson!”

My sweet, innocent children all exclaimed, “But that guy’s got dark skin. Michael Jackson’s not black!” We’ve got some serious educating to do here. Made them watch part of The Wiz. Never thought that would be required viewing. And nowadays MJ looks more like Dorothy/Diana Ross than she does. Was Lisa Marie Presley doing crack, or what?! But I digress.

I guess most of us grew up with certain assumptions– air conditioning, television (even the black and white kind with the broken dial that you had to use needle-nose pliers to change the channel–and don’t tell me my house was the only one with a TV like that), telephones. You were lucky if you had one of those extra-long cords that let you walk a 5 foot diameter around the phone. My kids think it’s hilarious to see corded phones on TV now. They think those only exist in hotel rooms and movies.

My kids will have the same attitude about mobile phones, email, and DVD players in the minivan. Not to mention pizza brought hot to your doorstep in 30 minutes. And that’s when we’re too lazy to microwave something for dinner. (Somewhere, my grandmothers are rolling over in their graves.) One Dear Daughter told me last week that she loves Lean Pockets, but hates waiting 2 minutes for them to cook. Poor, disadvantaged children I have.

And BabyGirl will grow up thinking that everyone has always had a blog! I guess time and technology march on, as well as parents’ sob stories about life being so hard “when I was a kid”.


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