By Joe Rector
I’ve always said that high school students have remained the same over the years. One of my classes proved me wrong the other day. We were studying humor, and I showed the old routine by Bill Cosby about being a parent. Yes, I know Cosby stands convicted of terrible crimes, but these students don’t read or watch the news enough to know what’s going on. The comedy that Cosby presented is still excellent, regardless of the type of person he’s become. What is upsetting is that the world we’ve created has stifled many admirable qualities of too many children.
Plenty of our children don’t have much curiosity. Information bombards them all day long. The Internet and social media broadcast all sorts of materials, and young folks aren’t always sophisticated enough to tell what is true. In the end, they begin taking what is dished out without ever wondering first about a topic and then investigating it.
At the same time, children are rarely excited about anything. We’ve given our offspring so much that not much is left to be called special. Christmas and birthday gifts don’t surprise them. In many cases, our offerings pale in comparison the things we have given children on a daily basis. A car isn’t a special thing to a child unless it’s a new model. How dare parents try to pass off used vehicles as a wonderful presents to teenagers. A vacation isn’t such a big deal unless it includes swank settings and plush accommodations.
Today’s young folks are too quickly offended. Our society sanitized everything in life. Too many things are politically incorrect, and as such, they are either taboo or have been assigned “kinder, less offensive” names or titles. We all recognize that some labels are simply wrong, but that doesn’t mean all of them are. Words we used just a few years ago are no longer acceptable because someone decided they demeaned another person or group. Our children live in a world where they are taught to use “he or she” so that no one feels left out. Double-speak continues to spread like a virus in our language. I’ve often said that such politically correct language reminds me of the movie “Demolition Man,” where uttering any word identified as offensive resulted in a ticket.
Worst of all, adults have wiped out children’s senses of humor. Some might ask how that has happened. On too many occasions, parents have failed to pass along what constitutes a funny situation or action. The absurd is the standard for humor these days. Of course, it might help if moms and dads shared some of the adventures they experienced as young people. Also, children fail to understand subtlety or nuance in humorous situations.
Perhaps what occurred today is further indication that my time has come and gone. Still, this is the first time in over 30 years that I’ve showed this video to a class without a single laugh coming out at some point. If children don’t see the humor in being a parent or going to the dentist, I feel sorry for them. Their futures are going to be filled with angst. I like my life up to this point and wouldn’t change it with a teenager. They have already missed too much.