I Believe the Children are Our Future

February 9, 2009

I believe the children are our future…and we’re doomed.

I substitute teach, and I’d like to get into education full time as my daytime job. This is partly because I like to think I can help hold back the tide of societal destruction typically born in public education. Secondly, I like yelling at kids.

Some days seem pretty good – like our nation’s future is in good hands. Other days seem rather bleak. And even on the good days, I remember that our school district, which is pretty good, borders another school district, which is one of the worst in the nation. So for every kid I help get to graduation with half a brain, there’s three kids just a few miles away dropping out of school to smoke dope and join a gang. So really, it’s like being the ‘Dutch Boy’ with his finger in the dam.

And like I said, that’s on the hopeful days! There are plenty of days when these excessively priveliged suburban kids, who are supposed to have a chance at life, spout things I just can’t believe. Seriously, I pray I did not say the selfish, spoiled, idiotic things these kids say when I was a teenager.

To those teens who may be reading this, I am sure this list does not apply to you, because you are intelligent enough to be reading this blog. I congratulate you and warn you, these people you exist with in your high school never ever go away. So get used to them.

Things teens have spoken in my presence that make me pray Jesus will return soon and save us all:

“Seriously, I need my cell phone!”
Part of the problem is that I’m now old enough that kids today have things that weren’t around when I was their age. So it really chaps me when some little prima donna loses her phone and whines about how she needs to find it. As if she’s got some important business client to call. I didn’t get a cell until halfway through college. Why did I finally get a cell phone? I blew a tire 5 miles outside of town, only to find that my spare was also flat. So I had to hike to a pay phone. That is needing a cell phone. What you are describing, my child, is your percieved need to waste even more of your parents’ money, while destroying our language with your incessant txt messaging. LOL!

“Wrestling is in my heart.”
I heard this one as part of an excuse why a boy could not retain the basic history lesson his class had been studying for weeks. He did not know the answer to a question, so another boy pointed out his ignorance. The first boy answers that he has too much knowledge already in his brain; there is no more room for any more knowledge. “You mean, like pro wrestling?” asks the antagoniser. “No,” he responds, “Wrestling is in my heart!” I laughed out loud, but the kid was probably serious. God help us.

“Jews are a religion, not a race.”
I had this argument when I was a kid with another boy who could not understand that Jews were both a race and a religion. Ten years later, it’s like deja vu. I don’t understand what is so difficult about this concept. What galled me was this girl had the audacity to argue with me, an adult. An adult who studied the Jewish people for the last three years in seminary. Tomorrow, some kid’s going to say that Jews aren’t really people, since they aren’t a race. Parents, please find out if your children are looking like ignorant tools at school by saying this, and if so please clear this issue up tonight at dinner.

“Do you like ‘Fi’ty’ [50 Cent]?”
Part of the nuisance of teaching yuppie suburban kids is that they have way too much expensive junk with them at all times. Between 25 and 50% of the students are walking around with iPods, pumping garbage into their heads all day. These kids listen to their iPods more than their teachers, more than their parents, even more than their friends. Now they have a habit of listening to their music with one ear while having a conversation with their other ear. So one kid asks me if I like some generic rapper like 50 Cent he’s listening to. Yeah, as a white middle class semi-professional, Fi’ty’s lyrics about gang-banging, dope spoking and bling-blang really speak to me. What is your damage, son?

What really gets me is these little angels are toting the big iPods – not the little ones like I bought for my wife, the iPods that can hold 120 gigs of musical propaganda. These kids aren’t old enough to have jobs to be able to buy them – they were Christmas presents. At least the inner city kids know the satisfaction of a hard day’s work at drug peddling so they can buy their iPods.

“I’ve read all the Twilight books.”
On top of the audio feces kids have in their iPods, most the books they read are a waste of space. I don’t actually know if the Twilight books are bad. I just see every kid reading them, so I assume they’re lousy. I ask kids if they’ve read any books I know. I get a unanimous blank stare. I’m not talking about difficult books. I mean books like Charlotte’s Web and Animal Farm. Our district has a designated 20 minutes of reading each day where students can choose anything to read. That’s great. It must not matter whether a kid is reading Huck Finn or Teen People anyway. That’s pretty much 20 minutes of self-indoctrination, just to take a break from the seven solid hours of structured indoctrination the kids get the rest of the day.

What say you? Are we in trouble, or will kids grow out of it as they have been prone to do for generations? What noteworthy things have your, or someone else’s little scamps said that made you fear for our society? Can you look back at your teenage self and recall things you might have said that made the adults around you fear for our future?