Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What are we teaching our children?

You’ll want to read my post on Margaret Mead from last thursday to make the most sense of this one.

“Our task is going to be to re-value human and artist and religious activity so that everyone involved in it will be a valid and worthy member of the community , and we won't feel ourselves impoverished by the fact that we are so rich. which is the position we're in a present."
-Margaret Mead

The obvious meaning of the word impoverished is “reduced to poverty”. But the meaning I think Margaret is talking about is “deprived of strength, vitality, creativeness.” (dictionary.com)

Margaret said those words in 1964. She thought that was the position they were in then and unfortunately, I think it has only gotten worse in these 44 years.

What if our great country full of promise and opportunity and overwhelming wealth, is actually depriving us of some of the very things we thought it would give us?

Did you know that instrument sales are up 200% from two years ago? On one hand, this is fantastic, as I believe music has the power to engage parts of us that nothing else can and everyone can benefit from learning an instrument.

However, I would bet that most of the people buying and learning instruments today are not in it for the expansion of their mind, or to support the arts.

My theory is that our culture worships celebrity and fame. Think of what most teenagers are into these days. Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, American Idol and a hodgepodge of other reality shows. Not only are children growing up in a world where everything is convenient and microwavable, they are watching a world give attention and in some cases, honor, to the people making the loudest waves. We are teaching our children (even if unintentionally) that the most worthy and valuable contribution they can make to society is to achieve stardom. To get the spotlight to point to them, even if just for a minute.

Look, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the 13 year old girl who wants to be the next Carrie Underwood. I would be the first to encourage her to go for it! But when a large percentage of 13 year old girls want to be the next Carrie Underwood, I start to question the message we are giving 13 years old girls. Do they know how special they are without the stage and the lights? And what about the girl who reveals a little too much skin in her myspace profile pic? Or makes a slightly racy youtube video and feels a rush of satisfaction and strength when it gets a 1,000 views. What does that lead to?

I know the desire to be noticed and seen is nothing new. This is written into human nature. But I think we are at a dangerous place today. When I think of what Margaret said almost 45 years ago, I am amazed at her foresight because I think we are in desperate need of some correct re-valuing. I do think we are impoverished by the fact that we are so rich.

Check out the titles of these featured videos on youtube today:

1. How to make your first Vlog. Start today!
2. How to make a YouTube Hit!
3. How to make your Audio better!
4. How to make a web show
5. DJTV production notes
6. Weekend extra: Encoding for YouTube
7. No Lights, No Camera, No Action (how to light your webcam)
8. How to make a viral video while driving
9. Customize your youtube layout
10. How to get more views on youtube videos
11. How to gain subscribers on youtube
12. Response to: How to get featured on youtube

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow-I couldn't agree with your thoughts more. I am going to use this for LUG tomorrow night. Most of the girls have seen the questionable picture I told you about, and I think it fits right in. It also reinforces my conviction to continue to point this out to kids in our ministry! Thanks for your thoughts and insight Alli!

Love, mom