The Gross National Debt

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A generation of stupid

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“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Albert Einstein

Rather than read our children fairy tales, we hand them smart phones, violate the terms of service on social media sites to let them have an account, fill their rooms with video games and go well out of our way to make sure they never have any reason to get up except to fulfill the basic necessities of life.

We are metaphorically beating the imagination out of our children with such force we might as well be doing it physically.

I give you this very real example:

Since school is out for summer, my Mom periodically collects my children and my extended family of children. When I went to collect the various chitlin's she was riding herd on yesterday, they were sprawled on furniture and the floor fairly glued to the idiot box. Admittedly, they'd spent several hours in her pool.
I'll be back in a few days...

I hauled them back. By the time the sun set, my house was temporary home to even more kids. All the girls holed up in Susan's room. They laughed, yelled, screamed made each other up as zombies and generally carried on in a highly boisterous manner until 3 a.m. The TV was ignored.

What is the difference?

Mom has cable. I do not. I do not have an antenna, a satellite dish or any way to receive a television signal. The kids can watch videos, but that's it.

Nor do I have internet access at home.

Despite the lack of modern electronic pacifiers, except on school nights my house is quite often occupied by kids not biologically related to me. I call all of them my children and I mean it.

Kids know when they come to my house, they will have to entertain themselves. And they do.

And they keep coming to my house. They would rather come to my house, despite my feeding them things like deer, wild hog, elk and squash casserole, than go to someone else's house.

At my house the kids must make their own entertainment. They must reach into their gray matter and find ways to eschew ennui. There is no passive entertainment at my house, except for the video collection which is well watched now.

I also demand, yes demand, intellectual excellence from all of them. I constantly challenge them to stretch their brains to encompass the concepts I hurl at them. I refuse to accept mediocrity. Only their best effort will be allowed.

And yet, they keep coming back.

Soon I think I shall break out the AD&D manuals, the 10 sider, 8 sider, 6 sider and 4 sider die. We shall enter the subterranean realms to do battle with green slime, skeletons and vampires which turn to dust when exposed to sunlight.

We shall not read fairy tales. We shall make our own.

We will not be a generation of stupid because we will make our brains do the hardest work of all.

My buddy Buck suggested this as read.


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