Over the last couple of years Mr. PC and I have made a concerted effort to collect all the television shows that shaped the ‘we’ we are today. As children of the 80s, there are quite a few influential cartoons, claymation and other series that have led to the adults we are today. Smurfs, Muppet Babies, Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Dinosaurs, and many, many others. As of late, our obsession has been Doug. We make an effort to watch one or two episodes a night before bed (about 15 min each so I can still make my 10:30 bedtime). I realize this sounds totally nerdy of us. But if you think about it, it makes sense. It’s a way for us to forget our stresses and reconnect with a time when life wasn’t so ‘adult.’ And, even more, we feel the need to reconnect with our youth so that we can prepare to raise our own brood. Doug–in all it’s awkward 10 year old who is dealing with the hardships of life, love and middle school glory– is a jewel that truly communicates a message that we could all take lessons from. Moving to a new town with no friends, falling in love for the first time with Patty the popular (who happens to be the “pickle on his ‘ip’wich”), the pains of being on the verge of teenageism, creating and living vicariously through an avid imagination with “Quailman, Smash Adams and The Chamilian, “and of course the resident bully who targets you for being the “newbie.” Yes, life was a simpler time, but the way in which Doug analyzes and eventually solves his problems could teach us a thing or two (and maybe, hopefully, it did in our youth and we are the mature and successful adults we are today because of NickToons). But the real issue at hand in this entry is this: Sure, Doug Funnie helped shape the children born in the 80s and growing up in the early 90s, but who will save the world today?
Please explain why a 9 year old has a better cell phone than I do; knows more about ‘adult situations’ than I knew even in high school, and speaks a completely different language than any pig latin I ever pretended to speak in my youth. To put it bluntly: spending an hour with today’s ‘tween’ scares the bejeebies out of my about becoming a parent myself. When did the disconnect between youth and adulthood dissolve? What’s more, kids these days don’t even want to be kids. I remember kicking and screaming my way into adulthood. Sure, I fell victim to wanting to be ‘cool’ in middle school, and even became a bratty teenager who’s ‘parents just didn’t understand.’ But it was all innocent. I was still the shy girl learning who she was and innocently chatting with a boy for an hour on a friday night. My, OH MY, how things have changed. Perhaps I’m imagining life being simpler in my day, but the news I read and my experience, albeit limited, with the youth of the millenium tells me that things have definitely changed. Kids these days are OVEREXPOSED to just about eveything. TV, Internet, social media, cell phones—pop culture is just about shoving adulthood down their throats. I read recently of Alfie, who became a father at 13 in the UK—at 13, I don’t think I was 100% sure how babies were even made. Take a warning from the Britney Spears’ and Lindsey Lohan’s of America—their parents shoved them into the spotlight to fulfull some kind of sick selfish dream and as 16 years olds their lives crumbled, gave way to the pressure and stresses of adulthood–ALL BEFORE they are even meant to be adults. Is this where our country is headed? Kids today who will grow up to be jaded, rehab regulars, and dependant on tax payers because it’s offered? Youth needs to become youth again–that means that the education system needs to stop putting so much pressure on kids and let them be kids. And parents need to put a little time aside to fulfill their duty as parents. I believe in exposing your children to the ‘real world’ and letting them learn valuable lessons, BUT in that same right, there is something to be said about nurturing the innocence of youth until it’s time to actually be an adult. My niece, case in point, is 6 and a kindergarden student in a typical US public school system. For her spring break I have planned a trip to take her to New York City to see the sites, visit a few museums and of course, take the ever eventful trip to American Girl (all very normal, youthful things to do). Due to a hellacious winter, they have since recinded two of her off days to make up for missed snow days—because of this we had to get it approved for her to continue her trip, on the grounds that she ‘bring along her homework’ for completion during the trip. HOMEWORK? What could a 6 year old possibly need to do outside of school hours by means of homework. Maybe this is where it starts, a 6 year old who doesn’t get a nap, or recess, but rather ’10 minutes of quiet time’ during her 6 school day? What is wrong with America? No child left behind my ass—they are ALL being left behind by not being ALLOWED to even be a ‘child.’ We need a solution. We need kids to be kids again. And adults to be adults. Not kids trying to be adults, and adults reverting to childhood late in life and blaming their stolen youth. Maybe there is something to be said about the catcher in the rye.
That’s my rant—perhaps my arguement can be deferred to those of us 80s gems who bore and have since raised children to not be children at all (see pageant moms). I blame TRL. Where was Quailman when we needed him most?