When I taught high school Sociology, we studied stereotypes and social groups via the movie “The Breakfast Club.” As I’m watching it at home tonight, I realize the movie’s content may be even more accurate in today’s high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools than it was thirty years ago.
As a present elementary/middle school counselor and former high school teacher, I’m concerned more and more about children, families, and what’s happening in society. It’s not about bombings or shootings, but our ability to face life, adversity, pain and fear. Recently, a shooter threatened to attack five schools in our local area on a particular day. On that day, more than half of the students were kept at home due to fear. The day went without a hitch, the threat was not realized, and strategic safety measures were put in place.
The same day, two bombings occurred in Boston.
The irony? More and more children are not safe in their own homes. Violence and sex are in video games, apps on tablets and phones. Sexual harassment, cyberbullying, dating violence is occurring at younger ages in schools. Drugs, addictions, and self-medication is increasing in our families. Kids’ reading levels are low not because schools aren’t teaching them, but because it’s a rare thing that someone at home is reading to them. Children stay up late using technology in their rooms when parents think they’re asleep. In a recent poll I did of 5th graders, 3/4 of the classroom admitted they are on Ipods, smartphones or tablets when their parents think they’re sleeping.
Do you know what your kids and grandkids are watching and who they’re interacting with?
Danger doesn’t lurk at finish lines or at the hands of a random gunman…but in our homes, in society and in hearts left unguarded.
Recently I read an article titled “Why Social Media is Better Than Your Granny.” It was the morning after the Boston bombings. I read it before starting my day as a counseling professional in a large urban school. I was stunned by the comment in this article that “Grannies don’t live forever…” but social media does. Feel free to read the article. This was the response I posted:
I’m a teacher and counselor in today’s schools, both rural and urban, and also am a behavioral professional. While kids benefit from technology, nothing replaces relationship for them in their development. Today’s kids lack human interaction because they are exposed and reliant on technology too early in life. It effects their social, academic and emotional development. Human nature doesn’t change over time and nothing replaces the power and influence of relational people in our lives and the lives of children.
“Grannies don’t live forever”…. Everyday I see the power of human connection and inter-generational connection that fills gaps in the souls of people. Call me a fool, but at the end of human life – our own or our grandparent’s, who will be standing there? What will we be remembering? Will we wish we spent more time with someone who loves us in our worst days or for our best online behavior? What will you tell your child when your mom dies? Perhaps you haven’t encountered this yet. Perhaps you don’t sit with kids experiencing grief over grandparents who they know love them and nurture them more than their own parents. Hashtags don’t answer the questions or fill the voids.
A narcissistic society feels good from social media because it feeds self-absorption. Today’s kids are craving nurture and attention from the people in their lives. The power of encouragement by people they have genuine relationships is what they want. A majority of today’s kids are raised by grandparents. Why? Their parents are either self-destructive or self-medicated and they leave their children to the care of their parents. They are more invested in their online presence than their physical and emotional presence with their kids. Have a child tell you their mom spent money on herself instead of buying birthday gifts for them. Have a grandma tell you in tears she is the only stable thing in a child’s life. Then tell me that granny doesn’t matter….that Twitter will fill that child’s soul.
When purchased Twitter followers and FB friends fail to engage or respond, Grandma will always be there. I’d rather have Grandma.
Why does The Breakfast Club still speak so loudly? Because it displays the complexity of relationships, the power of human connection, connectedness, and community. In a world of bombings, shootings, Twitter, Apps, and Facetime, the power of human connection still trumps all.
It’s been a rough week in America, in our schools, and as a counseling professional. But a colleague of mine shared this video which shows the power of human connection far beyond social media. Click the link below to watch.
Where have you seen the power of human connection this week? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
PS…Those of you who are “prayers,” pray for me Saturday as I speak to women for a retreat in Zionsville, IN. Thank you!
In His love,