It’s official! I am getting old. I consider myself a fairly technologically savvy individual. I have an iPhone. I have Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Truthfully, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing on Pinterest. Most of my conversations occur through texting, although I usually pick up the phone to call after 3 or 4 lines. I use Windows 8 and I recently purchased an Xbox 1, sorry PlayStation fans. Though I am making every effort to bolt into the new millennium, something still is holding me back. Something still feels uncomfortable. Something just isn’t right.
I want to take risks, because I am told you only live once. But I hesitate to take risks, because I’m worried I’ll only live once. I’m just saying! I’m still trying to find the right time to use “you be like.” I also have to confess that I’m still trying to find LMAO on a map. Isn’t it next to Laos? I’m trying my best to hashtag, #notexactlysurewhattohashtag! Overall, I am feeling very technologically progressive and aggressive. But, there is something I’m having a hard time accepting. At least for me, there is one thing this brave new world is lacking.
I must confess. I grew up watching way too much television. I blame TV for my quasi antisocial personality. Ok I’ll be honest, sometimes I can be a jerk. Television can be a mind-numbing idiot box. After a few hours of TV watching, it takes a herculean effort to wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth. Although TV has cognitively suppressed many young Einsteins, it did help develop kids in other ways. Many of my TV marathons included multiple episodes of Good Times, The Jefferson’s and The Cosby Show. What I realize now that I didn’t realize then is how these shows helped to shape my life. Of course, they were ridiculed for being too unrealistic and idealistic. Whatever they were, they provided me with one thing. They provided me with role models.
James Evans, the father figure from Good Times, was a proud man. At times, he worked two jobs to keep his family of five fed. He didn’t have a career, he worked whatever job he could. From dishwasher to construction, he would do whatever it took. He wouldn’t dare take a handout and would suffer almost any injustice to work for a hard earned wage. George Jefferson, patriarch from the Jefferson’s, was moving on up. He worked day and night to keep his dry cleaning stores afloat. Gregarious and at times domineering, he worked tirelessly to build his small empire. Dr. Huxtable, the light hearted dad from The Cosby Show, was a man for all seasons. He worked day and night delivering babies and raising his family. All his kids went to college, even Theo. He had arrived, but you couldn’t always tell that from the way he raised his kids.
James Evans, George Jefferson and Dr. Huxtable shaped my life. Dishwasher to drycleaner to doctor, they all shared the same traits. They worked hard to support their families, emotionally and financially. They were always trying to advance their families place in the world. They taught me the meaning of work ethic, honor and persistence. They never took handouts. They made their way in the world, so that their children could find their way in the world.
What about today? The new iPhone has more features than the previous version. The new Xbox has the best graphics I’ve ever seen. Facebook has allowed this blog to connect to the world. But, our role models haven’t advanced very much at all. I know what you’re thinking. SpongeBob hasn’t missed a day of work in the history of Bikini Bottom. Other than that juvenile example, what exactly are we teaching our kids about work ethic? What are we teaching our kids about persistence? What are we teaching our kids about honor? Does American Idol teach the lessons that our kids need to learn? Do you think X factor carries the message about working two full time jobs you hate, just to make ends meet? Could it be the Amazing Race will teach our young men and women how to be responsible adults? I am not so sure.
This is what makes me feel old. This is what makes me feel awkward. This is why it’s tough for me to confidently bolt into the new millennium. Our stories of honor and valor are not being told. It isn’t cool anymore to produce shows that highlight people who work hard, do what’s right and try to be the best they can be. There has to be a scandal. There has to be a sin. There has to be a dark side. It is for this reason that I am so reluctant to move forward. It isn’t because I don’t know how to use Pinterest. It isn’t because I’d rather talk than text. It isn’t because I don’t know when to hashtag. It’s because we no longer celebrate characters like James Evans, George Jefferson and Dr. Huxtable!