Parenting Blog

“There’s Hope For The Future,” Said The Pessimistic Old Guy

To hear my fifteen year-old nieces tell it, their parents make rodeo clowns look like heads of state.

Their moms and dads text while driving, habitually. They text while the car is in motion. They text while idling at red lights. This is plenty dumb on its own but the sheer stupidity of it all is compounded ten fold when you realize that while they text and drive, their children are in the backseat watching everything, bearing witness to mistake after mistake after mistake, soaking in the foolish risk being passed on like an appreciation for baseball’s intricacies and an abject hatred for mushrooms. When their soon-to-be new drivers wreck their soon-to-have new cars because they just had to send that LOL šŸ˜‰ C U LTR text message to their friends, just as they watched their parents do for years, the adults will have only themselves to blame. But they probably won’t blame themselves. Adults can be frustrating that way. More on that in a bit.

My nieces though, they will not make these same mistakes. They will not be the cause of accidents because of a text message sent or received while driving. They will sit at a traffic light and beĀ cognizant of the cars around them, of the world around them. There’s hope there. Hope for the exact future some adults are trying their damnedest to screw up. There’s hope because my wise-beyond-their-years-at-least-in-this-department nieces call their parents out time and time again when they see a smartphone in their hand in the car, like a hormonal owl who frets about boys but who’s achieved a surprising level of wisdom already. Do teenage owls date? Hmm.

Sometimes dad apologizes, admits that his daughter is correct, and promptly puts his phone away. Other times, mom will defend what she’s doing, say it’s too important to wait, and keep tapping out letters and symbols, thus putting everyone at risk and teaching the modern world’s worst possible vehicular lesson. There isn’t a world where that action has sane justification, yet for some everything can be rationalized.

I guess the PSAs and billboards and desperate tear-soaked Facebook pleas aren’t quite enough for everyone to take heed. You, your job, your hobbies, your schedule, your emoticons, your everything, none of it is ever important enough to put everything and everyone far out on the plank with nothing more than shark infested waters beneath and a final setting sun in the distance. And we’re supposed to be the smart ones leading the way. Shiiiiiit.

That my young teenage nieces know, understand and attempt to enforce this most sensible of rule gives this pessimistic old grump hope that we’re not all fucked. It comforts me knowing that there’s room for improvement and that there are young people ready to usher it in.

This was never meant to turn into a bloggy public service post but hearing my nieces talk about this issue as they experience it, and being so incredibly fed up with adults continually standing in the way of childhood, of growth, of intelligence, of personal responsibility…well, I just had to write something. It’s how I process shit.

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