|This is my first grade class photo. Can you spot the real japolina?|
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.