Monday, May 11, 2009

Are we raising a generation of morons?

We have three children. Ages fourteen, nine and five. My husband mentioned this evening that he is very concerned that our children don't know how to do anything for themselves. For example:
The two youngest went down to the playroom to play tonight and wanted to listen to music. So, the nine year old asks for her IPOD......sadly, it's not charged. How about a CD? No, don't like any of that music. So hubby says, "why don't you listen to the radio?" "How do you do that?" our nine year old asks. Now, fo shizzle, you and I knew how to work a radio when we were nine years old. How else would we have been able to listen to Casey Kasem's American Top Fourty? Hell, we even knew how to work the tape deck so we could record our favorite songs (Journey anyone?)
But, our nine year seriously had no clue how to work the radio. So, hubby gives specific instructions, look for the "radio on" button. Then use the "tuning knob" to set the station. He could have been speaking Swahili based on the look on this kid's face. She clearly didn't know what the hell a tuning knob was and she sure as hell didn't want to find out. But, she headed to the basement in earnest. Five minutes, later she returns, clearly frustrated. She can't find the Radio on button and forget about a tuning knob. So, of course hubby heads to the basement for a quick lesson in rudimentary radio operation.
Similar scenarios have occured at Parker's Nest with such complex items as......
"Setting the alarm clock"
"Turning on the stove"
and of course, the Coup de Gras.....
Running the Dishwasher.

Have mercy! Sure, my kids can get to any song on their ipod in twenty seven seconds, they can get to level 32 on Mario Kart for DS in a few minutes. My five year old has even mastered the complexities of PopTropica online but don't ask any of these kids to change a set of batteries in a flashlight or anything mechanical like that. It just ain't happening.
So what should I do? Hold a weekly "fend for yourself clinic" in the basement with the tribe? I think so. If anything should happen to Mark and I, these kids won't last 45 minutes on their own. Hell, they can't even find the milk in the fridge when it's staring right at them. (Funny, they always seem able to find the popsicles in the freezer-though)

Now, don't judge me. I love my children and they are three bright and articulate youngsters. But sometimes.....I wonder just what else I haven't taught them that I really should. Great, another thing to think about at night instead of sleeping. I am starting a list. Starting with the whole batteries in the flashlight thing!


marker said...

I say we lose them in the woods for a couple of days and see how rough life CAN be.

Amanda said...

Jill, this is Zach, Amandas husband. I like your take on communication quite a bit. This is an aspect of my life I work very hard on. In my distent past, I have been accused of being too direct, I had the uncanny ability to steam roll over the more passive type. After some coaching, mentoring, and hard work on improving my communication style over the years, I now get the feedback that I beat around the bush too much. I have worked so hard on a universal approach that people feel I am too
"cryptic" So what do people want, direct, passive, or nothing at all. Here's what I have found: All three! And most of the time people would rather not have someone leverage their courage and say what needs to be said for the betterment of the team. Change or growth is stressful and ruts can be very comfortable. So the question is when to put up, shut up, or dance around a topic to sell an idea?

Here's the deal and it involves two parts: 1. I have learned from a great teacher to hold people accountable in a converation for what they are going to hear. For example, if I am giving feedback that may be hard to take, I ask the person "do you want to hear some feeback on this topic?" The next question is "may I be blunt?" The answers are usualally yes and I share my thoughts. If the listener has a problem, I just say "you asked for this feedback, remember?" This is very effective in conflict, and general feedback expecially at work as long as you truly care and are really trying to help. Obviously the technique doesn't have to be used all the time but for those tough talks, it works well.

2. Accecpting diversity, inclusion, and forgivness in your heart. In the end, people can choose want they want to hear and what they don't want to hear. We certainly cannot please everyone. Everyone's on a different journey in life, and lives by a different set of values. We hope our message can be recieved by most of the group or individule most of the time. If we're 90% effective or so in our approach, then we're doing allright. If someone doesn't want to hear your thoughts or be part of a solution, so be it. In the end we are all human beings. Leadership is entirely about relating to human beings. The more we respect the differences all human being possess, the more we can relate to our fellow humans. The more we are willing to say what needs to be said and accept people may not like it, the more at peace we will be. The more we try to improve our communication approach, the more effective we will be.

You inspired me Jill with your thoughts as I continue to work on my communication and ability to influence others. Zach