Monday, December 21, 2009

50 ways life has changed in the last 10 years

Love this article from The Toronto Star!

50 ways life has changed in the last 10 years -

Some of my fave changes:
- digital photos (once upon a time, you crossed your fingers and hoped you had the shot. Now, you can get a second chance to capture that perfect moment)
- GPS (how cool to have your very own map reader, even when you're traveling alone)
- IPods (okay - mine is a no-name MP3 player, but still. I am old enough to remember painstakingly making mixed cassette tapes out of vinyl LPs, and then endlessly fast forwarding/rewinding to find the song you wanted...)

My "not-so-faves"
- reality television (I know it dates me, but I just don't get the appeal...)
- crocs (I am NOT so old that I will wear plastic shoes...)

And, my least fave of all:
- HELICOPTER PARENTING (described in the article as parents who hover, like helicoptors). I know, I know: I don't have kids, a dog isn't the same thing, I can't possibly understand. But here's what I do know: many of my friends have spent the past decade in hover mode. I know people who wouldn't let their child's grandparents, aunts or uncles babysit, even for an hour or so. People who homeschooled because they were afraid to let their children out of their sight. Stay at home mothers with nannies because they can't handle the IVF brood they've bred (no, it's not Kate Gosselin). People who don't want their teenagers to have weekend jobs because it ties them down. And you know what? I miss those friends, and I feel sorry for their children. Remember the feeling of independence you had the first time you took your bike down the street without your parents? Or the way you looked forward to your favorite babysitter, because it was almost like having a friend over, and it was cool that the "big kids" were hanging out with you? My part time jobs taught me not just about finances (eg. were those cute earrings really worth two hours over a deep fryer?) but also about time management (still had to get those essays in!), cooperation, tolerance, responsibility, disappointment and perseverance. Helicoptor children don't get these moments of independence, nor the pride that comes from knowing they did something on their own.

At school this last decade, I have seen a real increase in kids who are afraid to try anything they won't succeed in, who give up the minute that something becomes difficult, and who label all challenges as "boring". I am all for doing things well, and thoroughly, and to the best of your ability. But surely, part of being a good parent is raising confident, competent children? Larry Wingett agrees. He's got a new book, called Your Kids are Your Own Fault: A Guide for Raising Responsible, Productive Adults. I think, after a decade of indulgence, that his timing is perfect. I wish him much success.