So I read this article that really got my goat about how young people are idiots. It’s the standard blubber about how kids today are so addled by technology and instant gratification and being raised to have too much self-esteem. What a load of tripe. It makes me feel ranty. Indulge me while I quote:
Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter “literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else.”
While it may be mildly sad that this woman’s daughter does not have the mechanical wherewithal to figure out the workings of a can opener on her own, it is the mother who is the far bigger dumbass in this scenario. How about getting off your duff and showing your kid how the bloody thing works by using it in front of her once? I am so weary of the type of parent who disdains her children because they do not know what she should have taught them in the first place.
By teaching someone something, you do not only teach them the material at hand; you model for them a mode of being that (a) propagates civilization from one generation to the next and (b) happens to be really fun. Isn’t teaching kids how to get along in the world the whole point of having them? Are there people out there who have children because they think it will be fun to spend a few years sleepless and buried and poop, not to mention being crippled financially for decades? It is watching those kids emerge from the primordial soup of their inchoate consciousness that is so wonderful–it is them knowing something because you taught it to them that makes the whole life-altering endeavor worthwhile. And they are dying to learn, they are mewling with their maws open for you to feed them the world.
Yes, occasionally you run into a surly, spoiled kid who doesn’t give a shit. As one who has worked in the educational system, I will tell you that such a child is the exception rather than the rule. I have been consistently moved by the boundless curiosity of the young. It would befit their elders not to lose this quality.
So, if your kid can’t figure out a seemingly simple mechanical task, may I humbly suggest that it would be more productive for you, the child, and the human race as a whole if you simply show the kid how to do it rather than bitch that they can’t. And if you must be aghast at their incompetence, do so quietly, feeling a healthy twinge of responsibility that you saddled them with your poor can’t-figure-out-a-can-opener genes in the first place.
Okay, I feel better. I will now resume life.