If you watch television at all you have probably seen this Dish commercial: a teenage boy stands on the porch of his house complaining to his father who waits for him at the car. The boy complains “Oh, come on Dad, I don’t want to visit Aunt Judy. The game’s on and she doesn’t even have a TV!” Or words to that effect. The problem is solved when a small kangaroo-like critter standing at his side takes his iPad and installs an app supplied by Dish that allows him to take the game with him. He walks off the porch toward the car staring at the iPad with a big grin on his face.
What’s wrong with this picture? So many things.
To begin with, his father is presumably trying to teach his son good manners, the rudiments of social obligations, and his son, in typical teenage fashion, rebels. The rebellion is ages old, as old as teenagers themselves. But the fact that this boy is clearly not going to see Aunt Judy until he is shown how to do so without inconveniencing himself is pretty new. And ugly.
Next, he doesn’t want to visit Aunt Judy because she doesn’t have a television set. This implies, of course, that if he did visit her he would spend the entire time glued to the television set watching “the game” instead of visiting with his Aunt, which pretty much negates the lesson his father is trying in vain to teach him.
And finally, he is now going to see his Aunt, but he will remain glued to the game anyway — this time as seen on the toy he clutches in his hand to the delight of the folks at Dish.,
Now I have no problem with Dish — after all, they are the ones who refuse to broadcast “Fox News” [sic] so they can’t be all bad. And we all know the point of the godawful commercials that fill the airwaves is to sell us things we simply do not need when they are not instilling deep into our collective psyches a love of mayhem and violence. If aliens landed on this planet and determined to judge America’s culture from the TV commercials we view, they would conclude we are a greedy, drunken, self-involved people in love with violence whose male population is in need of a shave and has a serious case of erectile dysfunction and whose women are large-breasted, overly made-up, and can’t stop smiling. Seriously.
In any event, the rebellion of the kid in this particular commercial I can understand, even though my instincts tell me the father should cuff him upside the head and drag him to the car while telling him to shut up and do as he’s told (speaking of violence). In the end I simply ask: Isn’t it time for the parents to resume leadership of their families, to take the toys away from the kids and teach them that there is a world out there that demands (and rewards) their attention? That they should grow up and recognize that there are times when we must do things we don’t like to do and simply bite the bullet because it is the right thing to do? That we can’t remain children all our lives, immersed in ourselves and ignoring the things and people around us? Eh? Or are these all dead horses that I should simply stop kicking?
Agreed. I was at the mall with my kids when we observed a dad try to take away an iPad from his 3-4 year old. As the child started to fuss, I said under my breath to myself, “dad, don’t give in.” Sadly, in a few short seconds, the child had his toy in hand, playing games as he walked the mall. I think my teen then said that the dad will never be in charge when that child is older. I hope this was not indicative of the future of that family. I am also finding my college students more demanding of special favors. I would never have demanded extensions from Dr Curtler, that’s for sure.
Thanks, Katy. I thnk many parents give in because it’s the path of least resistance! Parenting is hard work and so many seem so tired…
This is not a dead horse. There is a respect for elders, including Dad that is not evident. The answer is this is important and we are going, so get in the car. My kids did things they did not want to do and still do as they know it is important to their parents. I would arm the child with some questions to ask Aunt Judy where he might learn some of his history. It is fascinating what you learn if you only ask, Good post.
The capacity to do things we don’t particularly want to do is a sign of maturity. And to your final point, I always regret not asking my grandmother questions abut her life: it must have been fascinating since she was the daughter of a Southern General who fled to Germany after the Civil War. Thanks, BTG.
Hugh, we are regretting not asking some of our relatives even more questions. There are some holes in our history that we are trying to fill, but cannot completely. My Dad’s grandmother is unknown, e.g., so his mother was fathered out of wedlock. He may not have known or maybe he did, but we can only speculate since he passed away. BTG
It is sad….so many gaps.
Hugh, this may give you some hope. It did for me. I saw this today on the Kindness.Blog. http://kindnessblog.com/2015/01/16/listen-to-a-living-book-at-the-human-library/