Saturday, March 29, 2014

This is my first grade class photo. Can you spot the real japolina?
    My teenage boys are growing up in a very different world than I did.  My childhood in South Florida was quite carefree.  We played in the street. We ate white flour and sugar without worrying about anything other than a cavity.  Unless we were not home by dark, our parents did not really know exactly where we were or what we were doing. If we were up to no good, one of the neighbors would call our Mothers and tattle.

    Today,  I have the technology to "track" my kids' iPhones. My son was recently out of state on a week long field trip.  I was able to see exactly where he was at any given time.  My other son recently started to drive on his own. He is forbidden to touch his phone unless he is in a parking space. The other day, it took him a very long time to run an errand and I was able to click on an app and see that his car was moving towards home.  My kids hate this technology. Too bad, so sad. That is life.

    Safety was never a big issue when I was in school.  Today's kids have a reasonable fear of possible guns in their schools. They have "code black" drills where they must pretend that a shooter is roaming the halls. This makes me sad but I suppose that the drills may save lives and are better than putting our heads in the sand and hope that it will never happen.

     Gun violence aside, and despite what you see on tv, in many ways, my kids are growing up in a much better place than I did.  

    For example, I only had a set of  World Book Encyclopedias and the library to research a topic. When my kids are interested in something, they are able to research it online until their eyes cross. When a new hobby or interest pops up, they can watch videos, read articles and immerse themselves in it. They are going to be so much smarter than my generation; mini-experts on tons of topics.

     Even better, this generation is going to be the most tolerant and open generation ever in US History.  My kids know that words and phrases that we casually tossed around when  I was a kid such as "Retard", "Midget" and "Faggot" are not only politically incorrect but mean and hurtful words (FYI, Midget is a very offensive word.  People with dwarfism prefer to be called "Little People")

     My kids know people who are openly gay, I sure did not until I went to college, and even then, there was not a lot of openness about it.   My children  are growing up in an era where Gay Marriage is celebrated and probably by the time that they have children, it will just be called "marriage". Along with the Bible Group, Science Society and Debate team, there are over 50 special interest clubs at my son's high school, including a  LGBT club.  My kids are growing up learning that "Love is Love" and that you should be true to yourself, whatever that self is. 

     When I was in school, I read Anne Frank's Diary and knew that the holocaust was horrible but not a lot about it, and I was raised in a Jewish home. My kids have spoken to actual Holocaust survivors. (This is amazing because soon there won't be any of them left. If you ever meet one or get the chance to hear one speak, I would highly recommend it

   When I was in High School, the smart kids were not the coolest. Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I've learned that those geeks playing dungeons and dragons on Saturday nights instead of going to the parties are now CEO's and surgeons. These were cute, sweet boys that did not have dates, like ever, in high school. In today's high school world (at least around here), the kids getting good grades and into good colleges are like rock stars. The partiers and "bad kids" are considered losers in many circles. 

    So while life may have been a little simpler and less scary in the old days, I'm excited for this generation's future. 


Susie said...

Japolina, Are you the girl in the pink/gren dress, back row? I only have seen your hair.LOL. Kids today can have it all....but it is scary to get through school. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

NanaDiana said...

I think you are the little girl in the back row with the long dark hair? I am scared for the youth of today in some ways. They deal with problems that take away the carefree days of childhood like you and like I had before you. I think they grow up to quick...but they are smart earlier than we were and, you are right, will be a truly enlightened generation. xo Diana

Linda said...

As always, a great blog post today! I am still a "helicopter" mother to our 30 year old son, but he does his own thing! And we love nerdy people, since we are nerdy mom and nerdy dad. Hugs, Lunda@Wetcreek Blog

Susie said...

Japolina, It's me again :):) You funny little girl. I just read Diana's comment, it is true, that in some ways the carefree days of childhood are never to be the same. We always thought school was almost as safe as home. Hopefully it can turn around again. Bless you heart, for being a caring mother to you teen boys. xoxo,Susie

Dee D said...

Great post, Japolina. You are such a great mom. I remember my kids hated me keeping tabs on them all the time when they were teenagers and that was without the app...lol. Today, now that they're grown, they have actually thanked me for looking out for being so protective of them.

Dee D said...

My fingers on the keyboard were ahead of my brain. That last sentence is supposed to be, they have actually thanked me for looking out for them and for being so protective. Have a great week!

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful post today

cheers, parsnip

Kathy said...

I love that you have an app to track your kids. Every parent should have one of those.

Things were different when we were growing up but not always safe. I remember air raid drills in school since it was not too long after World War II that I started first grade. People were still afraid of an atomic bomb from Russia. And some kids were afraid of their non-custodial parent snatching them and their other parent never seeing them again. We didn't have guns in schools, but there were still things to be concerned with.

BUT... we still had fun. Good fun without a lot of technology. We used our imaginations. Both ways have their advantages.

Pam Moore said...

Thanks for this refreshing perspective! I look at my 2 year old's future as a teenager with gloom and doom most of the time, given what I read in the paper and what I hear from friends with older kids. It's nice to read something so optimistic.

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