26 October 2007

How To Be a Cool Third Grader

1. Get a cell phone.
2. Get to school on time.
3. Get MacDonald's.


Apparently, life is about "getting."

Samuel brought this list to me this morning, right after I told the kids that I thought we were probably going to be late for school. I had decided that being late was preferable to stressing out the kids by rushing and yelling. I was just going to take it easy and not ruin everyone's morning by attempting to blast through breakfast, getting dressed, packing backpacks, etc. But I had not considered the cool factor, so it's good he brought me his list.

I thought the on time part was odd...because we are never late for school. Maybe he was building a list with at least one thing that would qualify him as cool, because he sure as hell knows by now that numbers 1 and 3 are pipe dreams.

At the risk of sounding like every generation of parents that can't believe the things kids are into "these days," I would like to know why cell phones and MacDonald's = coolness. Oh, wait, that's right: I think it's this thing called advertising, that industry in service to the greatest form of government economy in the world! Well, ad execs of America, you can rest easy tonight, knowing that you are doing your job; your strategy is working. Your ads are making my children ask me for things, things they do not need, things I do not want them to have, things that are not good for them, lots and lots of THINGS.

But hey, that's what living in a free society is all about, right? The freedom of a corporation to make parents' lives difficult in order to increase its own profits. The freedom of children to be convinced that they need Happy Meals. The freedom of a mommy to take the Happy Meal and run over it repeatedly, crappy toy and all. Just a fantasy of mine.

I go a little crazy sometimes, contemplating all of the messages my kids are getting from the "great big world out there" that run so contrary to the way I want them to grow up. I'm swimming against the current in so many ways, and dragging the kids with me, mostly against their will (he really wants a cell phone). If I could get back the minutes lost to conversations with my children that end with "Because I Said So!" I would probably have enough time on my hands to figure out an exit strategy for Iraq. But I can't devote my time to that, because I'm too busy explaining to my boys why they can't see Spiderman 53, why they can't eat MacDonald's, why they can't wear their jeans with the waistline around their bums, why they can't chew gum (yes, I'm one of those moms), and why things that look so good on TV are really evil. Sometimes, it feels like this country just doesn't care about children. If we, as a country, truly cared about kids, then the choices that surround them would be mostly things that are good for them.

Maybe Sam's Cool List would look a bit different. Betcha cell phones would still be featured prominently, though.

The good news is, he's still 1/3 cool; we made it to school on time.

1 comment:

nicole said...

no gum chew'n kids at my house...I am that mom too!