April 30, 2012

Out of the mouth of ten year olds...

It's not every day that your child pretty much sums up everything that's wrong with your generation while he's trying to think of hypothetical questions to distract you from the fact that you told him to get ready for bed and he's supposed to be brushing his teeth right now.

We do this dance every night... I tell him to go get ready for bed, he obediently heads down the hallway, then pops back up with some inane question 30 seconds later and tries to start a conversation about it. I have begun sneaking the time I tell him to go get ready for bed even earlier in 5 minute increments to compensate for this habit. He noticed and it hasn't deterred him any. At this rate, soon he'll be heading down the hall at 7.

Anyway, tonight he popped out to stall for more time, and the following conversation ensued:

HIM: So say that it's January and someone says, "In two months it will be February." Is that a fact or an opinion? (He's big on fact and opinion lately... I think they must be studying it in school.)
ME: It's wrong.
HIM: But they don't teach wrong in school! Why is that?
ME: Because they don't want to damage anyone's self-esteem.
HIM: What??
ME: They don't want to make anyone feel bad by telling them they got the wrong answer.
HIM: Oh, so they just call it an "opinion", even though it's actually wrong.

See... that right there is a lot of what's wrong with humanity today. Black and white concepts like "right" and "wrong" are steadily being fudged in exchange for shades of gray, and far too much weight is being given to how people feel about being wrong... especially in schools.

2 + 2 is still 4, regardless of how little Johnny feels about it. And when little Johnny guesses "6" in school, some PBIS-robot teacher (I can say that now since I'm not teaching anymore) will say something like, "Good try." Let me tell you (and little Johnny) something, though. When he gets out into the real world and has a real job, he's going to make a mistake and expect his boss to say, "Good try." Depending on the severity of the error, Johnny might be really surprised to find out that "good try" doesn't always count in the real world. Sometimes wrong is just wrong, and sometimes Johnny gets fired for it. Especially if Johnny is an accountant and there were a lot of zeroes after those 2s that he added to get 6. Or if Johnny is an architect and his "good try" created an unstable structure that collapsed and killed some people. These are of course extreme examples, but still you see my point... sometimes wrong is just wrong.

Most younger people, however, particularly those my age and younger, expect that when they make a mistake in the real world they can just laugh it off and go, "Oh, my bad!" and it'll all be okay. And it isn't, really. That's not how life works. And insisting your incorrect "opinion" is valid, no matter how many times you repeat it, does not make you any less wrong. In fact, it kind of makes you look even dumber, because you're persistently being wrong over and over again and not learning anything at all from your mistakes.

And then there's that whole thing about the younger generations seemingly being unable to take responsibility for their mistakes when they make them. I'd start going on about that too, but this post is already making me sound kind of like a cranky old woman and I'm not even thirty yet. (Getting close, though.)

So I think I'll just go to bed early, because between move-out inspections, five-page reports, rent week, taking applications, showing apartments, and the odd 30/14, I'm already having a long week and it's only Monday night. And I'm not just saying that... I'm actually already two hours over for this week, so I have to go in late and take me some long lunches to get my hours balanced out by Thursday evening. Yikes!

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