Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Bad Grammar, Sluts and the Undead

As a teacher and a mom, I wonder sometimes.

I wonder (and worry) about the future of my community, of my country and of humanity.

Every time I make even the smallest decision relating to my child, I worry about the impact that decision will have on his growth and how that decision might lead him to success or, ultimately, into eventual therapy one day.  Is there too much refined sugar in his lunch for today?  Should I let him watch Caillou when I know it will just teach him how to whine better?  If he refuses to eat dinner, how should I handle that?

We are all bombarded each day with a cacophony of critical moments — one after another.  Robert Frost never warned us that there’d be so many roads to choose.  I’d give my eye teeth for the opportunity to choose between just two paths in one day.

I find myself in a constant state of questioning how I am helping to make an impact on future generations, and how I – as just one person – can forever make a positive dent in the seamless shell of human time.

Even with being as introspective as I am, and working with young people everyday, I am consistently shocked to hear about how my finger is absolutely NOT on the pulse of youth culture and (subsequently) the promise of tomorrow.

…and Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare and Plato all simultaneously rolled over in their graves.

If you are over the age of 25 and do not work with or regularly have contact with kids ages 12-18, please let me enlighten/terrify you with the following:

1.  We are raising a nation of illiterate jackasses.  Not only can people born after 2Pac died not write a sentence that makes any kind of coherent sense whatsoever, they (and just wait until you learn this) CANNOT READ HANDWRITING.  If I teach a lesson to 10th grade students, I must write on the board using only printed, block letters.  Otherwise, moans and groans will erupt, followed with complaints of “I can’t read cursive!”  I blame an over-eager generation of text-o-philes for this phenomenon.  And, it sucks.  Kids today can only process typed language.  Many 16-year olds I know do not know how to sign their own names.  If asked for a signature, they print instead.

2.  This is really showing my age, but for people who are too young to remember the Challenger explosion, some weird social convention has come about.  Everyone turned into a big bag of whores after Generation “X” got real jobs.

I was at a party in 1999 where a wet t-shirt contest was taking place.  The final “contestant” to be revealed were actually two 19-ish year-old women who got water poured all over them while they stood in their thong underwear and white tees making out with one another.  They won the contest.  But, I remember wondering (and, I was completely shit-faced, too, mind you, but I don’t ever recall being drunk enough to think that this was a good idea): what would possess young women to degrade themselves for the gratification of young men?  I’ve never been a complete feminist per se, but come on, people.  I was only slightly older than 19 at this time, but the times they were clearly a-changin’.  Have you been to a dance club recently?  If not, just stay the hell home.  It’s gross.  And loud.  Chris Rock once joked that a dad’s only job in life is to keep his daughter “off the pole.”  If you have been out of your house to witness the under-24 set lately, you may have found already that deciphering between who sucks up dollar bills with her ass cheeks for a living and who is on her way to Philosophy 101 at the local community college is tough since they look an awful lot alike.

3.  Technology is a way of life now.  Isaac Asimov tried to warn us about the rise of the machines, but the damn kids these days seem to be welcoming it all in.  My child could use an iPad before he could pour himself a glass of juice.  At the time, I thought that I was just allowing him to be immersed in educational experiences.  But, I realize now that he’s likely sitting back and secretly plotting my demise.

Watch your backs, old timers.

Kids view technology as essential for life now.  Many adults I know cannot be separated from their smartphones, but the whipper-snappers these days very literally cannot function without electronics.  As a teacher, I cannot remember the last time I saw a teenager do even simple addition without a calculator or cell phone.  Well over 90% of my students show up to school every day without a pen or pencil.  It isn’t that these are bad kids, either.  They just don’t typically USE these items in their daily lives.

And, now I have come to realize that kids know that we don’t understand C++ coding techniques and Java Script, I realize that these illiterate sex fiends are poised to be the only survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse (which, for some reason, every 14-year old INSISTS is imminent).

I wonder sometimes about whether I am just becoming old, senile and out of touch with the changing landscape of human society or if that very human society is disintegrating into a wasteland fed by cell phone radiation, whipits and ramen noodles.  Either way, I fear I am pretty screwed.

So, adults, beware.  I have spoken with the future of this country.  And, they are prepared for zombie war and careers as fluffers, but not for writing thank-you notes to their grandmas.
Sleep well.

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14 thoughts on “Bad Grammar, Sluts and the Undead

  1. Having a 13, 15, 10, and 9 y/o I can say you are right on…dead on….it’s awful. We are constantly met with eye rolls and monosyllabic responses as we try to have a real conversation (or convo…see it rubs off!!!) to prepare them for adult life, however, I think their adult life will be far different from our own. It’s a scary future.
    However, in regards to zombies, I have been instructed how to properly eliminate them since apparently I was wrong in suggesting you could burn them. Hey, we didn’t have zombie problems when I was growing up!

    • What is with these kids and zombies, anyway? I don’t know if it is hilarious or awful.

      • AWFUL. I don’t get it. Or the vampire thing. Call me old.

      • It’s totally bizarre. The older I get, the less my childhood seems to resemble the childhoods of others who came afterward. It seems as though there are no universal rites of passage anymore. When was the last time you saw kids in your neighborhood (over the age of 6) riding bikes? Or playing hopscotch? Or catching frogs?

        I knew everything was going to shit the day I saw a 9-year old riding a scooter and talking on a smartphone…

      • I’m only 26 and feel the same. There are some kids playing outside in my parent’s neighborhood and in my apartment complex, but we were ALWAYS outside when I was little! But now at work, parents sit around and talk about how they don’t want to let their kids out unsupervised. We don’t even live in a bad area, either. I’m sure kids were jacked off their porches when we were little too, but the news makes everybody crazy about letting their kids go down to their neighbors without supervision. I do like my smartphone, but I also like hiking WITHOUT my phone and the days where I can leave my computer off (when I’m not in my online classes), I’m so glad not to sit in front of it.

      • A combination of both I’d say…

  2. It is my life’s goal to survive the impending zombie apocalypse and, as the only surviving adult, retrain the next generation as I see fit.

  3. Like cavemen carving Uga-Buga in stone, except we’re now carving LOL and OMG on something virtual we can’t really hold.

    Yikes on the clubs. I’m glad I’ve stayed away!

    This lack of discerning and reliance on technology scares me that these kids are willing to roll over on command. I was often taught as a kid that I should follow the rules, that authority was right; thankfully, I never bought into it. Got kicked out of school plenty of times for it. But, hey, I still write in cursive and have a mind of my own.

    I think I have my mother to thank for that. She didn’t let others influence her decisions; it was always for her children, not some wacko psychologist or school principal.

  4. Why would they know how to read cursive? They aren’t taught it. I wouldn’t know it if I hadn’t been taught in 2nd grade. They also don’t know any social studies.

    I will say though, I’m all for the inclusion of calculators in math education as appropriate. If I want my kids to learn to do an algorithm, it’s pencil and paper, but if they need to show me they know how to do a multi-step problem or 8 to the 9th power, give ’em a calculator!

    • Kids don’t learn cursive?! Or social studies?! Seriously???

      • No cursive in our district. And they get 2, 30 minute blocks of social studies a week. However, that’s usually squeezed out by math and science since ss isn’t tested.

      • I asked at the school I was doing clinical at! Still learning it in 3rd and 4th grade, so that’s a relief!

      • Indeed, social studies (and in many cases, science, too) gets pushed aside because state standardized tests do not focus on it. It is different depending on what part of the country a student resides.

    • It is interesting how things have changed. I specifically remember having “handwriting” as a class in 2nd grade, too.

      As for calculators, though, I am talking about kids who can’t do mental math at all. They can’t add and subtract without technology. This concerns me because they don’t even TRY. When they see numbers, they automatically pull out a phone.

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