Wednesday, July 7, 2010

30 Day Challenge Day - 25: Reality and the Next Generation

Now this is going to make me sound like an old man, but it made me laugh out loud. So as a young person growing up, who were your role models? A sports star perhaps? An actor/actress? Maybe a parent or relative? I know for me it was Steve Yzerman. A hard working, dedicated leader who let his actions speak louder than his words. He selflessly led my Red Wings to three Stanley Cups in his tenure and was probably the last real mega sports star we might ever see to spend his entire career with one team, loyal to the end.

He embodied everything a father or mother would want their son to be. Humble, selfless, a great father and husband. I always admired him because he always did the right thing, even when it meant he got no notariety for it. Later on getting to meet the man and see him work in a professional setting confirmed all my beliefs about him. He has no DUI's, no spousal abuse, no drug/alcohol problems or run-ins with the law. Your average man using common sense to guide his daily decisions and actions.

While I have long known the people that are looked up to by "young people" these days were going down the tubes, teaching opened my eyes to it even more. Say the words "Jersey Shore" in a high school hallway and watch what happens. It's funny, sad and frightening at the same time. Girls want to act like "Snooki" and some hormone ridden high school boy wants to act like "the situation". Both cocky, full of self entitlement and vanity. They were given fame and fortune with no elbow grease required, and put out there seemingly as what the cool social standard is. They were given a bubble in which to behave un-realistically and rewarded for it. Hell, remember the days when MTV actually played music!? If our parents thought it was racey then...

Gee you say, that sounds mighty familiar. We seem to hear a lot about this kind of thing. Paris Hilton anyone? Lidsay "rehab" Lohan? How about Gilbert Arenas or Tiger Woods? Hell, Enron or Haliburton anyone!?! Fame and fortune creates a bubble and parallel reality for super stars. They feel that they are above any law and can simply get away with it. Contempt for authority and society's laws. Sadly the reality is such. If you've got the money, you can get the lawyers. If you've got the lawyers, you can either beat the charge or get away with a lesser sentence.

Middle school and high school students are fed this everyday through the media they engage in. Some obviously take it with a grain of salt, but others use it as their gospel of how to behave in life and what is expected of them. "If I act like a tool I'll get money, women and fame." Trust me, more kids than you think see this as what to aspire to. Why do you think the casting sessions for reality tv shows are so huge? Fame can be had by acting irresponsibly.

Don't believe me? MTV has another show out there called "Sixteen and pregnant". If you want to be dumbfounded, tune in. I sacrificed a few IQ points the other say to see what the big deal was. While it's always been true some people get pregnant at way to young of an age, it's never been glamorized...until now. A 15 year old girl who has no self esteem sees that show. A lot of times that individuals mind will work much differently than a normal person's. The simple thought process is one of "if I get pregnant, I can get attention and my 15 minutes." School administrators have been speaking out against the show, as it has shown teen pregnancy to be a glamorous thing. A few years back administrators in a New England high school noticed teen pregnancies at their school were skyrocketing. They discovered what they called a "pregnancy pact" between groups of girls in the school. Essentially, girls promising each other that they would get pregnant by the end of that school year.

Now I need to cut this short, as I have made my ranting point I think. As a society we need to work on this. I don't mean pull the Christian "moral-majority" bullshit, rather go ahead with a bit more common sense. I'll leave you with some reading material:

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