The world’s most interesting man does not need a poker for his fireplace; he just uses his hand.
Up until lately I liked what Marissa Mayer had done as Yahoo’s new CEO. But their home page “news” items more closely resemble the National Enquirer on steroids than a legitimate news source—not that Yahoo was ever all that credible to begin with. Years ago, I suspected their staffers did not work on weekends as the headlines were the same from Friday evening until Monday morning.
Unfortunately, nothing is reported anywhere unless it is a little bit sensational. It does not matter what the source is. What passes for news today would never have made it to even page six in newspapers 30 years ago. Real journalism is on the endangered species list, if not life support. No one wants to read or view real news stories anymore. It is just easier, not to mention more entertaining I suppose, to cocoon ourselves in the pop culture icons of the day and their tales of ribaldry.
All this reporting of non-news has a dulling effect on our collective brain power. We need our smarts and smart people, more than ever. We have plenty of problems that need addressing, yet we put off dealing with any of them just as if our issues were dirty dishes in the sink left to wait until later to get done.
The babies being born today will grow up in a world vastly different than the one the generation previous to theirs did. The notions of what constitutes play time and how structured their school environments will be—two important, shaping influences over what types of adults they will become, are uncaring, riddled-with-excuses-for-proper-upbringing, YouTube-laden distractions.
Kids will be born into a nation of watchers pure and simple. They will not be watching their neighborhoods. They will watch other nations filled with people who do and make things (read manufacture goods), and wonder why they seem to be living life standing still, despairing each waking minute of their young adult lives, and at a loss as to why they feel as they do.
The same kinds of people who are outraged about Miley Cyrus’ antics today were the kinds of people who were taken aback by Elvis Presley’s hips back in the 50’s; the main difference being that not every household had access to television during the fifties. The pundits who lambasted Cyrus’ performance on MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) and who decried the effect it would have on young teenagers everywhere who tuned in, should not be alarmed. Kids have access to a lot worse than gossip magazines (like kids in the ’50s) and MTV (relic of the ‘80s) shows in terms of bad influences. I have not watched MTV since the ’90s, myself. Did they start playing music videos again? If parents were legitimately concerned about the negative influence of pop culture icons at all, they would be monitoring their children’s viewing and computer/Internet habits. You cannot control what goes on outside the home, but parents can certainly step up supervision where necessary under their own roofs (if they really are worried over what little Sarah or Johnny might do because they witness some twerking in prime time).
I suppose adults with children want to be cool parents. They lose their way as parents in favor of becoming their kids’ best friends. Parents need to be parents first and foremost. Being a parent is more important than being a best friend to your child—mostly because being a best friend to your child has a nasty habit of eclipsing good parenting. Plus, best friends get walked over, taken advantage of and treated poorly compared to parents who try to do the right thing by not acquiescing to their child’s demands.
The Stones’ “you can’t always get what you want” mantra applies to kids, too. If parents can give kids what they truly need, they are doing an effective job. Oftentimes the only way to understand you are getting what you need is to not get what you want.
Parents know it is hard to be a parent, but to become first a friend to your child instead of a father or mother is to put both yourselves and children at disadvantages. Neither parent nor child can realize their full potential under those negative role constraints.
If a child is lucky he or she has not one, but two parents whose main goal in life will be to give their child a healthy start to a better life than they have experienced.
Part of that upbringing will be imparting the wisdom and knowledge that the antics of both the “World’s Most Interesting Man” and Miley Cyrus, are nothing more than make believe.