During the recent state elections I confirmed that my students are an excellent barometer for what the community is thinking. I asked them what they thought of the State’s Premier, and the Opposition Leader. I did this knowing full well that they would be parroting what they heard adults saying. They all hated the Premier, and were more favourable on the Opposition Leader. Election Day, the Premier lost his seat in the state’s parliament, but his government appear to have lost the election, though it is hanging on a knife’s edge with vote counting still taking place.
This week, I asked them if they ate dinner with their family at the table each night, or did they all take a plate and sit in front of the television. I was not anticipating their answers.
The majority of the students said that they actually took their meal and returned to their rooms to continue doing whatever they had been doing, such as playing on their computers.
That struck me as incredibly sad. These children are away from their families all day, and yet they are not even coming together in a central place to be together.
When our children were at school, we always ate together at the table, and some of the conversations were memorable. Since they have flown the coup as adults, Mr FD and I have fallen into the habit of taking our plate and watching the evening news together, which we debate hotly. We are still communicating.
These children are functioning on a minimum of parental time, and that saddens me. No wonder we are having to teach this year’s, year seven and eight students to say please and thank you, for a start!
Another place we used to be with our children was driving to and from school. Now I see the students riding in their family cars with earphones firmly inserted in their ears. If we aren’t careful, they even hide them in their hair and use them in class!
Are parents too exhausted from modern life to go the traditional mile with their children? Why are we jettisoning our children into a solitary confinement? Where are parents finding the joy in their parenting?