What They Don’t Know

Next month my older son enters college.  Yikes!  Those 19 (Happy Birthday Nick!)  years went by in about five minutes.  Because he is starting this new chapter, the annual Beloit College Mindset List seems very relevant.  This list is created each year to give professors an idea of what is and is not germane to entering freshmen so that the topics they discuss actually resonate with the kids. 

The list includes stuff like putting filn in a camera or actually going to a photo developing place.  Or how about the fact that there actually was a time when reality tv meant news or sports.  Or not knowing who is calling you on the phone. 

It made me think of other examples.  Like  teenagers today have very different feelings about the number 911 than when I entered college.    Neither of my teenagers has ever worn a watch.  In fact, once I asked them if they wanted one for Christmas and they looked at me like I was from Mars.  I do think they can understand a non-digital clock.  But I’m pretty sure they cannot count back change: when the cash register displays their change due, they assume it’s right.

Other little things are interesting too.  For example, when I say “Thank You,”  they say “No Problem.”  What happened to “You’re Welcome?”  They never use a land line… always their cell phones.  And when they answer the phone — like once a month — they usually say “‘Sup?” rather than ” Hello.”  They can’t go anywhere without their music and they rarely listen to the car radio.  They’d rather plug in their iPod music to the radio.  And nobody has anything other than an iPod.

They are actually pretty good drivers.  They Mapquest or Google directions if not using a GPS.  They never use a street map or an atlas.  Does anybody?  It’ll be interesting to see what happens if they get a flat tire.  I suppose they will just call me.  Maybe I should give them a lesson.

Nick and his brother may not know about rotary phones, vinyl records or typewriters but they know way more than I do about technology.  They don’t read the newspaper and barely watch the news.  They may not know everything but they are wise beyond their years.  Their friends are of every race and sexual orientation.  They care about the foods they eat and understand the value of being healthy.  They resent bigotry and judgmental people. 

To paraphrase the movie title:  I think the boys will be alright.

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