While I wiled away my Saturday afternoon, stumbling upon a bald eagle that was scrounging around the abandoned nest of an osprey, many of my kids were watching college football on television.
While I poked around behind the back panel of my freezer, trying to decipher the evaporator fan ECM on a schematic in the jumble of wired objects in front of me, getting away with only one small laceration, my lambs were blowing each other up on Mass Effect 2--"When you're not playing it, you wish you were. When you are playing it, you can't imagine doing anything else."
While we ate clams we slaughtered and beans we picked, some of my students ate Big Macs and Whoppers. We saw dozens of monarch butterflies, tiny ghost crabs, and the last thrashing of a bluefish on an angler's hook, while our children glazed at Animal Planet.
I got to read some Bill Bryson, Charles Darwin, and may poke around with some Melville tonight. They're stuck reading some dry textbooks, at least those who are still playing the game.
If a child can get through a weekend without witnessing anything real, if we can assign homework worth far less than the same time spent meandering in a local park, if we keep caring more about preparing children for careers that will never exist than we do about how they spend their days today, well, we get the culture we deserve.
The ECM photo lifted from Electric Motor Warehouse