my kids go to school in a tiny town, a very closed community with almost zero diversity. things there are probably the same way they were 30 years ago, and back then it was the same as 30 years before that except maybe the hairstyles. although the schools are very highly rated in the state, the kids are not really getting an all-world education because the town prevents kids from really understanding what the real world is like.
when i bought a house there about 13 years ago, i was told that nobody ever really leaves town. the realtor said that only two kinds of people ever sell a house in town: either people who had growing families and needed a bigger house in town, or people who were older, kids had moved out, so they needed a smaller house in town. many of the teachers in the schools live in town and also went to school there as children, which is a bad thing because it means the same information and attitudes are being recycled through generations. there is nothing new happening, nothing new coming in, and nothing going out.
so tonight i went to my daughter’s school christmas concert. it was cute and harmless, and the kids sang well. there was nothing to complain about until i was on my way home from the school. in front of me was a minivan, and through the back window i could see they had a dvd player with cartoons going as the family drove home.
if i tried hard enough, i could literally hold my breath as i drove from one end of the town to the other. there’s no way that anyone could have a drive of more than two minutes from the school. however, even though it was such a short trip home, these parents HAD to put the television on? couldn’t they talk about the concert? couldn’t they talk to the kids about how well they sang or played the saxophone or something?
as a teacher and a parent, i’ve noticed that our society over-uses two things to placate kids: technology and food. either we hypnotize and zombify our kids with tv’s, psp’s, nintendo ds’s, or cell phones, or we keep stuffing their faces with sugary fatty goodness to keep them quiet. we’re building an army of overweight and undereducated children who will someday be easily defeated by another country or organization because the USA will be too fat, weak, and stupid to fight back.
people, please, put down the remote, close your mouth, open your eyes, and maybe open a book too.