This morning, I watched my teenager watch a video I’d sent him about the “Landfill Harmonic Orchestra” which plays with instruments made from garbage in the landfills some of Paraguay’s poorest areas. The nearly four-minute video was entirely in Spanish with English subtitles.
He didn’t flinch. He didn’t sigh. He didn’t turn it off. He just watched and read and soon, smiled.
Back in my day, a 16-year-old American kid would probably have lamented that the video was in Spanish with subtitles. Pretty much everything in the media was in English, and most everything we watched was about something American; we expected it.
We didn’t have access to videos from around the world. Chances are, we’d only have known about a story like this by seeing it — in English — on “60 Minutes” (which also covered the story.)
It made me think about the ways in which our kids’ generation is better than ours:
- They’re more worldly: They watch English Premiere League soccer, news stories from around the world, and videos about gummy bears in Hungarian, Chinese, whatev. It’s all cool with them.
- They don’t seem to require typing classes. Their thumbs type more words per minute than I ever did on a typewriter with all 10 fingers.
- They answer quickly. Kids answer their texts much faster than adults do, making it easier to find another family you’re trying to meet at, say, a football game or movie theater. Just text the kids.
- They take a stand against bullies with rallies, t-shirts, projects, games, and other shows of force and solidarity.
- Their classes are harder than ours were. That’s why they’re reading in kindergarten and taking college-level honors courses in high school.
- They plan ahead. Just yesterday, a boy from my son’s high school cross country team who is interested in a career in media connected with me on LinkedIn. Smart kid.
- They seek out funnier stuff. They aren’t restricted to whatever the networks put on TV at 8 p.m. (Think: Donny & Marie). They find funny things on iFunny, YouTube, etc. and share them. (Thanks to my children for introducing me to Key & Peele.)
- They tell each other they love each other. Even just when they’re saying goodbye after school until they see each other later at the movie theater. “Love you!” And love makes the world go ’round, right?