About twenty years ago I read this amazing “little” book by Arthur C. Clarke titled Childhood’s End. I recall that the spine was deceptively slender considering the intensity of the wallops the story had to deliver on many levels. Then again any true connoisseur of cold war Sci Fi knows that Sir Arthur was a sage, a philosopher, and a prophet as well as an entertainer.
As a parent for the last 18 years, and a parent of teenagers for the last 7 years (daughter #1 got off to an early start) I now consider this work of literature and sagacity required reading for anyone under the age of 30 who is considering parenthood. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you have been warned!
The “Beatniks”, “Bobby-Socksers” and the “Hippies” are all now either great-grandparents, humanitarian volunteers, published authors or dead.
The “Baby Boomers” are by now either grandparents, or among the well kept, well read, well traveled and childless who think of Herod every time they hear a baby cry in a public venue. That placement in the annuls of history might have some perhaps unexpected perks.
For the grandparents, they get to enjoy their status as digital tourists. They have the pleasure of allowing their grandchildren to teach them things about the “new world”, while they share “faerie stories” about a mythical age before WiFi and hand-held mobile devices with live streaming. The childless on the other hand are generally annoyed by everyone and everything, while everyone and everything are/is also generally annoyed by them. As such a modicum of balance is maintained in the universe!
“Yuppies/Generation X”, to which I admittedly belong, is in a greater predicament. We were on the cusp of the tech breakthrough and the Silicon revolution. We learned Basic on the Apple IIe, we watched Dynasty, Dallas and The Incredible Hulk, we envied the first “car”phones (which were the size of the wireless radios used by troops in Korea and Vietnam). We were the first to be introduced to the concept of “Prosperity Consciousness”. We were the first to be given “easy” credit, to be told that it is possible to “Love Too Much”, and to be informed that sex is potentially lethal…
Is it any wonder we are paralyzed with terror watching our children grow up in a virtual world where “Grand Theft Auto” and “Mafia Wars” are sedentary hobbies, “relationships” are transactional, and “gratification” instantaneous. Even “Hannah Montana” (aka Mylie Cyrus) became trashy just to “fit in”… probably on the advice of her agents and managers… but still, ewwww.
Murderers and serial killers are glorified, while their victims are forgotten. Policy makers argue ridiculous points that really have nothing to offer humanity…
Getting back to those who are about to embark on their 30’s and are trying to work a family into their prospective schedules… Think long, think hard. Do not even allow yourself to think for a fraction of a second that there is an instruction manual. The rules of the game are changing every five minutes! Do not make the fatal error of believing you can keep up in the “virtual” arena! We who are all toast, salute you!
As it is Independence Day in the US of A, I thought it might be worthwhile to pledge allegiance to the teens, our children, our students, those who are inheriting the fruits of our errors and our successes, and upon whom the quality of our future lives depend.
If we don’t empower them, then who will? The “State”? The church? Which state? Which Church?
If we don’t empower them, then WE have no future.
May all make the most of this celebration to ponder and recollect. To remember, albeit briefly, just how wonderful the reckless pioneer spirit could feel between your toes…
Victoria Andre King is a freelance writer and audiovisual professional her novel The Führer Must Die is available for pre-orders and will be released on November 8th 2016 with Yucca Publications, an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing NYC.