A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were playing a trivia board game with our fifteen year old son. Our son is a bit competitive and usually beats us when it comes to geography and presidential history, but he wasn’t so happy when he pulled this card:
Name a character from Hogan’s Heroes.
“Come on,” he said sounding annoyed. “I don’t watch this reality TV stuff . . .ugh, okay fine, Hulk Hogan.”
An American TV show featuring spandex clad wrestler, Hulk Hogan, in charge of a crew of Allied prisoners in a POW camp?
My husband and I laughed, but it was an honest mistake considering Hogan’s Heroes started airing before we were all born. But the next time we played that game, this card came up:
Name a comic character Johnny Carson played on The Tonight Show.
My son’s response?
“Who’s Johnny Carson?”
It was a little astonishing that he didn’t have any reference for the thirty year host of The Tonight Show. Johnny Carson was such a fixture in my house from the time I was a kid until right before I got married.
Generation Gap: A chasm, amorphously situated in time and space, that separates those who have grown up absurd from those who will, with luck, grow up absurd.
~Bernard Rosenberg, Dictionary for the Disenchanted, 1972
You know what else is absurd? My kids don’t know what a library card catalog is . . .
The card catalog and paper–the two things I needed to do a school report when I was a kid. No Google.
And (*sigh*) they don’t even know how to use a cassette tape, the pain of it unraveling, or the power of a pencil in that respect.
Both my kids do however know the 17th century stockade:
Captive in Colonial Williamsburg
This is one way to bridge the generation gap.
However, I am grateful that my kids know not only what a library is, but the feel and smell of actual books. That even though they listen to their music via iPods, I am happy that they know the power of music.
So they may not know the once famous fixtures of bygone decades, but I am glad that they find some significance in their family–at least enough to sit down with them and play a game.
There is nothing wrong with today’s teenager that twenty years won’t cure. ~Author Unknown
What gaps do you see in the generation before or after you?