I love the Onion so much. A recent article headline is Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation, and there’s an accompanying photo of a dad fawning over his Talking Heads album.
The Onion drives home to me how self-centered and ridiculous it is for us to teach the next generation what we think is important. We are not talking about passing down the idea of how to make fire and how to use a wheel. We are talking minutia.
School teaches kids whatever the textbook industry is serving up. Or, worse yet, whatever the federal guidelines tell the teachers to teach. Which necessarily means that the curriculum is a generation behind. Of course we cannot get a textbook that includes Sky Does Minecraft. Printing takes too long. Sky will have his own children by the time some Pearson executive finds Sky’s YouTube channel.
So at any given time in history, school is totally out of touch with what the current generation cares about. But as information processing gets faster and faster, this gap gets wider and wider.
What blows me away is how parents are recreating this problem at home, when it’s totally unnecessary. The Bureau of Labor estimates that the top ten jobs of 2030 don’t exist now. Which means of course you have no idea what to teach your kids. So why not let them pick what they learn since it’s likely that what the kids find interesting is going to be what’s relevant to the job market in 2030, since the job market will be creating goods to sell to the kids.
It’s selfish of parents to think that what interests them is what their kids need to learn. It is no coincidence that farmers spend 50% of their time teaching biology and math professors spend their time telling their kids how math is in everything. Former cheerleaders help their kids have more fun during the day. Former music prodigies help their kids practice every day. (And forced curriculum at home only serves to exacerbate this problem.)
It’s fine to skew your parenting to your own background. What else can you do? But once you start placing a higher value on your cultural experience rather than that of the current generation, that’s when you start looking like an Onion parody of the self-involved, culturally deaf parent.