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  1. #1
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    Default Kids w/ "Reality Show" mentality just waiting for the "magic" to happen?

    I am a middle school teacher, as some of you undoubtedly know. My 8th graders (14 year olds) have begun career exploration, which will lead to a major research project of a career. Now, I'm all for having dreams as a kid, we all did. But...this group (generation?) seems to have such a tenuous grasp on reality. Why plan for a potential job, when you will magically be discovered (never having performed that song or dance in public, mind you!) and be made into a star?! Why get decent grades, when you are going to be the next (insert sport here) professional?! (despite the fact you maybe play that sport recreationally and are neither tall, strong or talented--nor will you be). Don't tell me you are "working on your grades" when you are failing ALL your 1st term classes, but plan to attend Julliard. Right.

    Anyway--do I just have a dreamy group or am I seeing the effect of Honey Boo Boo and her ilk's influence upon our youth? You know--anyone can be famous if they just get a show/do something crazy, funny, scandalous.

    Maybe I'm becoming too cynical?
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


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  2. #2
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    This is my youngest sister almost exactly. She's 18, and failing her first semester of college. The only reason she graduted high school was because my mother did her homework for her. She's a spoiled, rude, obnoxious, attention seeking brat.

    She is a very talented singer, and has said more than once that it's no big deal if she fails out of school because she'll just move in with Mom and Dad until she gets 'discovered' for her singing abilities.

    I think my parents created that monster. My other sister (20) is working her tail off in college, will have two master's degrees when she finishes in two more years, maintains a 3.9 GPA and works two jobs. She's smart, funny, hard working, and driven. My parents don't nearly support or encourage her like they do the younger one.

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  3. #3
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    I think my SIL's two teenage daughters must be in your class

    They put such a strain on the marriage I don't know how much longer DB can hold out. Damn shame too, considering he's done an excellent job parenting the two children he's got with her and thus far they turning out nothing like her two elder kids. He's tried like the dickens to get through to her daughters but their daddy spoils them rotten, undercuts him at every opportunity and encourages their "I'm a superstar in the making" mentalities.

    I think the mindset comes from the kids just plain old being spoiled, combined with the influence of today's media. Why strive to be a scientist or a doctor or a vet when you see those yahoos on Jersey Shore having such a good time acting like fools, and everything mommy and daddy do validate that spoiled brat, fun-at-all-costs "you're the only one that matters, everyone worships you" mentality?


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  4. #4
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    I haven't met any like that, yet. We cut off broadcast TV quite some time ago so DD doesn't see any of that stuff, is a good student and most of her friends are either from heavily Christian homes that censor television or tend not to watch a lot of reality tv. She knows she's not the best musician but also knows that in order to get better she's going to have to take more lessons and practice more - I really think that we parented her a lot, but then she was always willing and understood what she was being told.

    If you let TV raise your kids - well what do you expect?
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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  5. #5
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    I, too, teach 8th grade. Over 70% of the boys I teach dream of being either a pro basketball or football player. The majority don't even play in an organized league or on the middle school's team. I guess they expect to be scouted while shooting.hoops in the cul de sac or while tossing a football at the park.

    I have to keep reminding myself that they are only 13-14 years old. They're kids who really can't think of.the realities of life 4 or 8 years down the road. I didn't have a clue what I wanted to be at age 22 let along in 8th grade.
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  6. #6
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    Default

    Well...the Christian part is a load a hog-hooey in my opinion. Maybe because I'm from the PNW, the kids (with the exception of the Mormon contingent) aren't terribly "churchy". The two who are "religious" are, I'm sorry to say, pretty ignorant of the world, world affairs, history and factual evidence, period. But, that's another thread.

    Mind you, not all the kids are like this, of course. But the ones who have no clue about their own talent...or lack thereof...are so frustrating! I try hard not to be a dream-killing Debby Downer, but trying to tell the girl who has never given a public performance of any kind that singing is not her best career path to research is hard! And, that boy who is trying his damnedest to be the rap star--and who wouldn't even stand up and do a rap at our talent show? And who couldn't understand that probably knowing how to read, write, spell and do math might, just might, be a valuable skill to have in his "career"? Sigh. When his dad calls and tells us that he can wear his skinny jeans half off his ass, showing his boxers to all of us, inspite of our school's dress code, "cause that's how the gang bangers in Vegas do it, dude!" (that's a direct quote, I kid you not!). Where do you go with a kid like that?

    I do hope that some of them grow up and wake up before it is too late..
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  7. #7
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    Saw this all the time with my high school seniors... So many of them were convinced they were going to be NFL or NBA players, despite our school not even having a football team, or warming the bench all season in basketball... Lots of them thought they were going to be doctors, but hadn't taken any upper-level science classes and hated science... One, in his senior exit interview, told the principal that he was going to be a video game designer but had no idea what training or experience that involved, but if that didn't work out, he was just going to be a doctor instead. And parents would get mad if you told a kid who was failing all his classes that maybe he should think about an option other than lawyer, because who are you to tell him he can't be anything he wants to be? Sigh...



  8. #8
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    our youngest son wasn't a successful student like our other three children...thought we were really never going to get him through high school.

    We saw some interest he had in photography as it allowed him a pathway of creativity that he enjoyed.... the path lead to college, which lead to an internship that open the doors to the world

    He now employees most of his college friends who completed their studies


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  9. #9
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    My mom had the solution.

    She was ready and willing to endorse the "My baby can be anything she wants to be" attitude.

    And she supported its natural correlate: "You will lie in whatever bed you make for yourself... your call."

    It was not mean-spirited or asking me, as a kid, to give up on any dreams.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  10. #10
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    I think it's an offshoot of the 'everybody gets a trophy' and "no" is never used school of parenting. And some is laziness. It's much more work to raise your kid, and raise them to be responsible adults, than it is to just let them do whatever they want, never supervise or discipline them, or have any expectations for behavior. If you don't care what your kid does in school or anywhere else, and you just let them raise themselves, then you should expect a kid who does nothing but spends their life on your couch, and lives in your basement forever. It's a lot of work to really parent a child, and many people simply don't bother.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


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  11. #11
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    Default

    The title of the thread made me sad before I even read any of the posts.

    My dd wants to be a novelist. She has had this dream since she was 12 and I have encouraged her as much as I can which includes keeping reality front and center. She knows she will have to get a j.o.b. to support herself while she is working on finding an agent and she knows she may never make it but I would never want to discourage her from trying. She has a real passion for writing and I think she can have a career in commercial fiction but it won't be easy.

    She is 19 now and we have given her until the spring before she has to start filling out job applications again (she applied at quite a few places this summer without any luck). Because we are giving her so much 'free' (she still has a lot of things she's expected to help with on the farm) time to finish a couple of novels and polish things in an effort to attract an agent put us in the same category as the parents mentioned in previous posts?



  12. #12
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    I used to be related to a family (single mom but with serial husbands/boyfriends) and of the 3 boys, one wanted to be a Ranger, one was going to be an NBA star and the third didn't even have the imagination to come up with something he wanted to do. The Ranger-wannabe graduated from high school and enlisted in the Army but couldn't even get into Ranger school - the push ups and sit ups part was "too hard". He did end up doing 8 years in the Army and 4 in the National guard and finally got some medic training that he liked and is now an LNA. He tried college for half a term but couldn't handle it and was upset he had to pay back the Army funds. His brothers dropped out of school in the 10th grade and, alas, were not discovered by the NBA, Emimem or Steven Speilberg and make pizzas. Because they do not even have driver's licenses to deliver them.

    They also think that because they've got steady jobs and the occasional girlfriend, life is good.



  13. #13
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    No, Crackerdog. The parents I was talking about don't involve reality in their child's plans, or even think their child needs plans. Your daughter's efforts do sound like a good plan, and she's actually making an effort to do what she dreams about. Dreams aren't wrong, but denial and delusions can be.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


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  14. #14
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    I don't think this is something new. Kids are idealists, always have been and always will be. They don't understand real life at 13-14 years old. Maybe the odd one does, but most don't.

    Heck, don't you remember wanting to be a professional rider just because you loved horses? Or wanting to be a vet because kitties are cute? It's no different.

    Now, whether or not they grow up thinking that fantasy is going to become a reality is on the parents and teachers, but I don't think I'd blame reality tv for kids being idealists and wanting fantasy jobs.


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  15. #15
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    Jazzy--there is a difference between "kid dreams" and what I'm seeing with this group (well, the last few year's groups). Sure, having a fantasy is awesome! Dreaming is healthy and normal. Believing that the "magic" will happen to you without EVER realizing you might need a backup plan is becoming more and more prevalent. Call it the "American Idol" style of thinking: hey, I've been told by mom/grandma/auntie that I can sing! Ergo, I will be a superstar! No work required, no training, no performances--just Badabing, badaboom! The cash rolls in! And, god help these kids, no one is ever honest with them. Well..I am. I have told kids that their essay/paper/speech kind of sucks, but then we discuss how to make it better. I call a spade a spade. Suck it up, Buttercup! Life hurts and you gotta make lemonade out of lemons.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvincrowe View Post
    Jazzy--there is a difference between "kid dreams" and what I'm seeing with this group (well, the last few year's groups). Sure, having a fantasy is awesome! Dreaming is healthy and normal. Believing that the "magic" will happen to you without EVER realizing you might need a backup plan is becoming more and more prevalent.
    CC, could you turn this into a class project with the aim of teaching the dreamy kidlets about the cost of making a dream come true? Perhaps have everyone write a (hopefully researched) short essay about what steps must be taken to get from 7th/8th grade student to Dream Career (or better yet ... assign each kid to research and write about ANOTHER kid's dream career). Or have them interview someone in their dream business about all that had to happen between middle school and the chosen career. It may or may not be meaningful at all to the kids ... who knows? But maybe you'd at least feel good about trying to help them develop some critical thinking/planning skills that could be useful down the road.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by coloredhorse View Post
    CC, could you turn this into a class project with the aim of teaching the dreamy kidlets about the cost of making a dream come true? Perhaps have everyone write a (hopefully researched) short essay about what steps must be taken to get from 7th/8th grade student to Dream Career (or better yet ... assign each kid to research and write about ANOTHER kid's dream career). Or have them interview someone in their dream business about all that had to happen between middle school and the chosen career. It may or may not be meaningful at all to the kids ... who knows? But maybe you'd at least feel good about trying to help them develop some critical thinking/planning skills that could be useful down the road.
    I remember being in middle school (6th grade, perhaps?) and having to do a "Million Dollar Project" for my math class. We were given a $1M budget and told we could do whatever we wanted, as long as we presented a "business model" and budget/spreadsheet at the end. I designed a state-of-the-art equestrian facility (obviously ) but any illusions my 12-year-old self may have had about horsekeeping for a living were quickly brought back down to earth after one interview with a local barn manager. Before that project I had no idea just how much went into running a (successful, nice) barn and just how little a dollar got you. Talk about an eye-opener!
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  18. #18
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    I haven't seen this "everyone gets a trophy thing."

    Really? Can you give me some real live, straight-faced examples of some guru (or parent) arguing for the value of this?

    Now I did go to a hippy school as a kid and we played something called "new games" where the emphasis was on the process and all getting something cool and fun done. No teams, no winners or losers, but these weren't the only things we did in PE and no one thought that there was not better and worse in various parts of life.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  19. #19
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    I don't teach but I have seen-

    -Kids who get Financial Aid Loans from the Fed to the tune of $4000+ a semester who enroll in the minimum classes to get $1500+ cash in a check for a refund. They then drop the class, have spent the money from the check and are angrily surprisingly irate that the school or the Fed want their money back. This is one of those in the last ten years things. I do the EFTs for the college and see the incoming funds for our collection agencies, it aint pretty to see.

    -my friends son, her oldest and she has had a roller coaster life. She always let him do whatever because he had a "high IQ" and smarter than anyone. He LOVED to smoke some weed. He could not get a job because he had no car and could not walk a half mile to the bus with his flat feet. He could, however, go on wildlife and nature treks for miles through the Banner Forest smoking weed and hunting mushrooms. He had seizures that started when he began smoking pot and then tried to get his (state funded) medical providers to prescription some weed for him for free. They said no because he gets seizures although he argued that weed actually helped his seizures. His mother encouraged him to fight the regime and he was smarter than those dumb docters anyway. He died last year at 23 from a seizure after doing bong hits with his friends.

    So, people do not seem to live in reality. Either real life or the reality shows.
    The Knotted Pony

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by twotrudoc View Post
    I don't teach but I have seen-

    -Kids who get Financial Aid Loans from the Fed to the tune of $4000+ a semester who enroll in the minimum classes to get $1500+ cash in a check for a refund. They then drop the class, have spent the money from the check and are angrily surprisingly irate that the school or the Fed want their money back. This is one of those in the last ten years things. I do the EFTs for the college and see the incoming funds for our collection agencies, it aint pretty to see.

    -my friends son, her oldest and she has had a roller coaster life. She always let him do whatever because he had a "high IQ" and smarter than anyone. He LOVED to smoke some weed. He could not get a job because he had no car and could not walk a half mile to the bus with his flat feet. He could, however, go on wildlife and nature treks for miles through the Banner Forest smoking weed and hunting mushrooms. He had seizures that started when he began smoking pot and then tried to get his (state funded) medical providers to prescription some weed for him for free. They said no because he gets seizures although he argued that weed actually helped his seizures. His mother encouraged him to fight the regime and he was smarter than those dumb docters anyway. He died last year at 23 from a seizure after doing bong hits with his friends.

    So, people do not seem to live in reality. Either real life or the reality shows.
    Marijuana can give you seizures? I had no idea.



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