Oh, My Kids Need Guidance…not Me

By admin · Thursday, January 27th, 2011

National TV-turnoff began on April 23rd. I started to notice something: much of these efforts to curtail the influx of media and consumerism is directed at the young minds – school-going innocents who need to be protected. What about the adults who curl up in front of the box with impunity and watch with indemnity?

There is a common tendency to perceive the problems associated with the media’s influence, particularly television and the Internet, as pertinent only to children. We feel compelled to protect our kids and somehow think that we adults are immune. Alternatively, we imagine that adults have lost that special innocence anyway and so it seems there’s nothing left to protect. We’ve been tainted already, so what difference would it make to taint us further?

However you look at it, this notion of non-applicability is a fallacy. Turning a certain age does not grant us a license to slacken and succumb to all the lures that pulse around us. For many, becoming an adult means becoming exempt from discipline as though we have “served our time” as a child and now its time to “have fun.” Children are suffering through basic training and the adults are sitting in the officers’ lounge.

Even if your concern is not for yourself and only for your child, bear in mind that the best training children can get is to witness discipline in their parents. Children learn best by osmosis, the unspoken principles exhibited by their parents’ behavior, the way their parents speak, the way they conduct themselves under pressure, how focused they are, how they control themselves, how closely they stick to their goals. Children who are expected to behave in a focused, dignified manner will be confused, at best, by their parents’ unfocused, undignified manner.

But wait, you object. You can’t lump kids and adults into the same category. Adults know how to handle the media, sort through the jumble, control themselves, temper the invasion, filter the information, employ common sense and…. Yeah. Right!

If you read the supermarket tabloids (which you shouldn’t) you will find ample evidence to the contrary. It has always amused me, in fact, that from a legal standpoint, when the clock strikes twelve on the eve of our eighteenth birthdays, something magical is supposed to happen. While we might not be expected to turn into pumpkins, we are expected to turn into mature people capable of weathering exposure to indecent material with minimal fallout. A day earlier we were deemed vulnerable and corruptible, and a day later we are deemed “safe”? Of course Nobody qualifies from the school of sexual desire, simply because life is that school, and the only way to qualify, really, is to not have life anymore.

Just because the mind and soul are not visible, does not mean we should ignore all the spiritual junk food and mind clutter we consume on a daily basis. We are surrounded constantly by beckoning images and ideas which promise us the world, and the reality is we cannot sort the truth from the hype – what is good for us and what is in actuality a narcissistic pursuit.

With all the contemporary craziness about physical health, MSG, carbs and exercise, it is a wonder that metaphysical caution is aimed only at the pre-K generation. Will we ever own up to our recalcitrance, or will we continue to pass the baton to the babies?

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