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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Weap For Our Future!

OK, so in a rare display of an uncharacteristically grumpy  demeanor, I got a gripe.
Surprisingly, my rant involves my own short sightedness.   See, it became abundantly clear to me the other day that I am a wee bit of a hypocrite. 
I'll explain.
I have railed on, considerably about the state of today's youth, resultant of parental neutrality.  Allowing the inmates to run the asylum and such.  However it became very clear to me last week that, at times, I am equally culpable for our countries current conditions. 
I'll explain.
Our routine around here has changed somewhat to conform with the kids changing schedules, not to mention, due to some disturbing information Angela uncovered regarding a pervert who has been hanging out in a church parking lot exposing himself to little girls coming home from school.  The same church that our kids pass each day to and from school!  Once hearing this, and because Elijah is no longer available to escort them home and Owen has tutoring three days a week after school and Logan has Math club (blah, blah, blah) we decided the kids would come to the shop after school and then home with me at the end of the night. 
ANYWAY, long story short, one day last week on the way home Owen asked me "Dad, how long until my birthday?"  Always wanting the kids to think for my self, I inquired as to when his birthday was (yes I DO know when it is, but follow along) he told me, then I asked, "what is today's date?".  He didn't know.  So, OK, that's not TO bad, I sometimes forget the date as well.  So I told him the date then asked him to do the math and figure it out.
I could have just as well asked him to devise a theory to contradict Einstein's from the look of utter bewilderment he gave me. Then I asked him, "OK, first lets count the months, then we will figure the days".
Here's where it got REAL sad!
Now, I know Owen can play "stupid" because he knows it annoys me, and he loves to annoy people.  It's his hobby.  Some people collect stamps.  He concocts ways to annoy.  But his utter confusion was far to real.  He didn't know all the months of the year?!  Much less put them in order!?
He's in third grade.  And he doesn't know the months of the year!?!?!
So what exactly DOES he learn at school!?
Here's where I became keenly aware of two things.  One, schools no longer teach fundamentals and two, I wasn't doing MY job as a parent.
See, I have noticed through the last several children to go through the system that unlike when I was a child, schools don't seem concerned with the basic fundamentals of societal survival that we were taught.  How to read a calendar, a clock (not digital) basic math, the importance of reading etc., etc.  Really, I'm not sure WHAT they are learning, because the majority of the time they tell me about what cool video they watched at school or the video game they played.  But in the  end the responsibility of getting them prepared for life, is one that I have shirked. 
So I began to take a good look around me, with an emphasis on what I was not doing.  It became painfully clear to me.  During their time at the shop, as I am consumed with my tasks, I merely shuffle them to the play room and tell them to "watch a movie".  When we get home, and I have my shower, then dinner, after baths I become engrossed in Angi and to an extension, Mommy and Daddy relax time.  The children are left to their own devices.  Now, the recent introduction of Magic has provided some small reprieve from video games, and allowed for a more interactive experience, but often times can result in outright brawls between Owen and Logan over the TRUE interpretation of a particular cards abilities!  "Enh",  at least they are interacting.  But for the most part, as everyone has some sort of electronic device providing them with an excuse not to exercise their imagination or intellect I get the sneaking impression that I am propagating a race of Borg drones! (Star Trek reference, google it)
A plan of action began to gestate! 
Yesterday, when they arrived, I informed them that first they were to really clean the back room (as when I did it earlier I discovered a very large pile of snack and drink debris covertly stashed in a very small place).  When that was done, I informed them "No TV, No games!  Pull out your homework!"  To which they responded, "But we have none?"  Oh, nay, nay!  Daddy is no longer wearing blinders.  To this I retorted, "give me your back packs!"
Panic ensued.  They attempted to try and excuse themselves to the back room first, with a variety of excuses, but I held firm.  And lo and behold, each one processed a homework packet, handed out on Mondays, that had yet to be started.  Firmly, I bid them to get out their pencils, sit down and begin.  Twas akin to soldiers resolute acceptance that they were going "over the wall" into "No-mans land" assured in their utter destruction.  Slowly, the resounding chorus of "I don't understand this" and "I need HELP!" reached it's crescendo, complete with whining and tears. 
OK so NOW I remember why I dislike homework time!
 Once tears were dried, and after a thirty second tutor session comprised of the simple command "Read...the....directions!" all was understood with a casual, dismissive "OH, now I get it"
But that was only the beginning of the fun.  Once homework was completed, and they began to make there way to the play room they were stopped, with a cold shiver, in their tracks when I stated "NO TV!" 
You would have thought I killed and ate their favorite pet in front of them for the looks they gave me!
Again, more whining.  I simply stated "play a quiet game or read a book".  This completely foreign concept of reading did not sit well with them, so as they had the option they reluctantly decided to go outside and play a game.
Once arriving home, To add further insult to injury, Elijah had received his newest acquisition in the mail.  His NEW cell phone, or hand held media device, whatever you want to call it.  Now here is why I say "NEW" with a modicum of disdain.  Four months ago he bought his other NEW phone for over $300.00.  That, I thought was excessive enough, but this NEW one was close to $500.00!?!
Imagine my resolute befuddlement!  WHY?   You just bought a freakin' expensive toy a few moths ago, now you drain your bank account AGAIN! 
OK, OK.....shaking it off.  I can only hope that this will be it for a while and he'll start keeping money in his bank. 
ANYWAY, As I sat at my perch at the dinner table (pre-shower) catching up with Angi briefly before "delousing and destinkafying" myself I noticed how quickly the children had congregated around the TV where Miranda had been watching some inane cartoon.  In a sarcastic tone I uttered something about the fact and Angi, always capable of interpreting a subtle clue, quickly got up, shut it off, and directed them to change from their school clothes and get washed up for dinner.
So, this is the infancy of my master plan.  To slowly wean the whole group of them off the electronic teet! 
The next step.  A family weekend camping trip DEVOID of any and ALL electronics! 
Now THAT will make for an interesting blog!
Yesterday WAS........tuesday.  Notice how I did not capitalize tuesday?  Yea.  We did however get in another slew of repairs, so we thank you ALL very much for your patronage.  And to the hold outs, pretty please with sugar and a cherry on top come in and pick up you finished repairs.  Getting kind of hard to walk through the shop.  Also, got in some choice newbies!  Well, soon to be choice, that is!   A classic Fuji MTB, a Trek 4300 (that may end up a parts bike if I can't save the paint) a classic Trek 800 antelope and three more BMX'ers!  Also, put out a (now) gorgeous Schwinn Meridian three wheeler!  This is last years model, for some reason having been purchased then left to the elements.  We did some refurbishment and rustication and she is GORGEOUS!!
So with that, we gotta git back at it! 
See y'all SOON!

ONLY $215.00!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Steven-

    What a GREAT looking trike! Here's hoping it finds an appreciative owner.

    As for weaning any human being off of technology, good luck with that. I tip my beret to whoever figured out that the stuff was insanely addicting- and that big money could be made feeding that addiction. I suspect the only cure is to go cold turkey, if you can tolerate the high level of whine. If you can get them- and you- off of all of those silly etoys, and KILL YOUR TV, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

    I recommend books. Real, honest-to-gosh, you-can-slap-a-bug-with-'em books. No batteries required.