I remember the good old days too. We had to raise our hand to be recognized. On a good day, we could ask for permission to speak, and if granted, we rose to a standing position and spoke; kids now blurt from their chairs when the spirit moves them.
Let's jump out for a second and picture a better world, a world where information has been digitized and made accessible so a kid can listen to Aristotle and Socrates hash it out, check out the battle of the cheeseburgers at the local corner, and then find out when Leroy MacGruder and the Tutors are playing at the Fox - and all in five minutes without making much noise at all, just fingers tapping glass.
The technology alters the landscape like night and day, and it releases curiosity and snowballing potential like nothing in history. Some are so bold as to term it the Information Age.
Tell me one more time how many months of grade levels we lose every summer Johnnie and Maria don't read or write or learn!!
When our kids have more love and fewer toys, they can handle the stress of self-reliance. When they choose to take some responsibility for their eventual totally self-directed empowerment, then their urge to engage their greatest powers will be nothing but a reflection of what's in their heart. Our greatest drive is self-mastery, devotion to chosen direction and autonomy to get better at what we love about life; education enables choice, and good parenting enables education.
One of my college buddies had a 4.o grade point average as a senior along with a well-deserved likely entrance into medical school until that day when he worked at the ER. Some poor old guy had been having trouble passing his bowel for a few days until my buddy spent the day with a tiny spoon digging dried fecal matter from the crotch and then the, uh, explosion. He became a world-class biologist.
And when we take control of our destinies, something happens. This whole pile of potential becomes real, and it's OUR pile, and we're taking responsibility for OUR futures, so mom and dad are done, baby. Kick back and watch 'em go!
When I was 21, one of my students came to me, of all approachable people in her terrified world, and announced she was pregnant and scared to death.
She was a sophomore, 1970, northern California. I sure learned from my little student that day. She was one fine kid. Her thoughts ran from shame and fear to pride and expectations for a way better life for that little tiny beating heart within her.
Once when this knocked-up feeling surrounds your life, it's too late. You'll likely already be thinking mommy thoughts. Get ready first.
Unfortunately for too many, we don't have a quiz and a pass word for nooky. Until such time, we are like Smokey the Bear just standing in the smoke and coughing, uttering something like "Only you .. (hack, hack, cough, cough) ..can prevent forest fires!"