The Kids Are Alright

The first Ground Crew guest post is in – from Salacious Crumb

It is easy as a parent to find ones blood pressure constantly challenged by the actions, attitudes and variants of mood that children, particularly teenagers, can display.

Added to that is the notion that the values and ideals we impart to our offspring might be challenged or even undermined by forces out of our control. Media, social networking sites and peers but to name a few.

This week my own Miss Crumb, in a rare moment of parental engagement, divulged her extreme dissatisfaction at the subject content her social studies teacher was inflicting on her class.

In the following days it transpired, there was to be an assessment on a movie they had watched as a class; the topic? Global Warming and other assorted injustices.

The reason for her displeasure was simply that she didn’t believe what the movie was about. As she was sufficiently motivated to engage with us, we decided to approach this as a family and proceeded to obtain and watch a copy of the movie, The Age of Stupid.

In the film, a futuristic archive keeper on a ravaged Earth narrates clips of the present day which cite all the arguments put forward by Global Warming proponents. Not content with extreme and flawed climate change predictions, it goes on to sustained attacks on Shell Corporation, the USA, big business and even finds time to throw in some poverty and redistribution of wealth ideology also. The movie, I noted, was sponsored by Greenpeace, amongst others.

How the TV remained intact after 90 minutes is still a mystery although we could now see the reason for Miss Crumbs angst. She knew she was being sold a lemon, but was worried about how she could supply answers to questions on something she was in patent disagreement with and not be academically punished.  

In the ensuing days I enquired as to how the test had gone. She coolly responded that she had answered all the questions which were of the “what were the messages” variety but added that when it came to conclusions, she had opined that the movies premise on climate change was deeply flawed. That the climate was a dynamic and ever changing system as proven throughout history and that science had not definitively proved mans involvement or impact.

She had further added that we do have a responsibility to look after our environment and that the issue of poverty and wealth distribution as depicted in the movie had more to do with government corruption in the movie’s example than anything else. A proud moment as a parent.

We await the assessment result with interest but to me there was a realisation that we have a generation that through its exposure to technology, mass communication and a plethora of information sources, is far better informed than we give them credit for.

That through the haze of social media, reality TV and handheld technology there still exists a profound awareness of the world around them. That despite teenage indifference, there is an ability to confront issues of significance with a sense of logic, intellect and rationalisation.

And most importantly, that they do care.

Whatever the motivations of this social studies teacher, I thank her. She has proved that you can challenge kids with your own views of the world and that this challenge does indeed provoke thought.

I just hope that this teacher is prepared to be challenged in return.

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