My son is at the tender age of twelve, still thirsty for knowledge before becoming a know-it-all teenager. Some days I am amazed at how grown up he is and how much he knows about the mechanics of the world we live in. I wish I could give his school props for his stellar education, but in reality everything my son knows about the world he learned from watching television.
My son recently informed me that he will no longer answer to his name, Tyler. Instead, he wants to go by his school nickname, Stephen.
“Why Stephen?” I ask.
“Because Stephen Tyler is cool,” Tyler answers.
“Stephen Tyler hasn’t been cool since the ’90s. He’s like 100 years old. How do you even know who he is?”
Tyler rolls his eyes at my ignorance of the television shows he and his friends watch.
“American Idol,mom,” Tyler says in an exasperated voice. He swallows the “duh”-but just barely.
Geico Television Commercials on YouTube
I was recently on the Internet researching sports teams in Denver for my article “Why Our Children Rebel Against our Favorite Sports Teams.” I found myself struggling to remember the name of the prolific basketball shot blocker drafted by my father’s favorite basketball team, the Denver Nuggets. I hadn’t thought about this particular player in years, not since my dad, brother, and I bonded over Denver’s playoff upset of the Seattle Supersonics in 1994. I was hoping the Internet would jog my memory as this players name would add legitimacy to the story I wanted to tell.
Since I couldn’t remember the player’s name, I was surprised when Tyler called out across the table. “Do you mean Dikembe Mutombo?”
Of course I meant Dikembe Mutombo, but how did my twelve year old know about a player who was drafted ten years before he was born in a sport he doesn’t even watch?
“The Geico commercial, mom,” Tyler said in explanation. “Everyone’s seen it.”
With the help of my son, I watched the commercial on YouTube and saw the amazing shot blocker Dikembe Mutombo knock everything to the ground followed by his taunt “not in my house.” The commercial ends asking “how happy are people who save money on car insurance?”
“Happier than Dikembe Mutombo blocking a shot.”
More recently, Tyler was researching a school project on the Internet. He knew he wasn’t allowed to use Wikipedia as a legitimate reference choice, but he didn’t know which of the other websites he was allowed to us. I peered over his shoulder.
“Click on the Encyclopedia Britannica,” I suggested.
“What’s that?” Tyler asked.
“What’s Encyclopedia Britannica?” I repeated, incredulousness creeping into my rising voice. “You know who Stephen Tyler and Dikembe Mutombo are but not what the Encyclopedia Britannica is?”
“I know what an encyclopedia is, sheesh,” Tyler said with an indifferent shrug of his shoulders.
I guess you can’t blame the teenagers. Who needs Encyclopedias when you have the Internet available in thirteen different devices in the house? If you can get your education from television shows like “American Idol” and car insurance commercials on YouTube, why bother with something as archaic as encyclopedias?
As Dikembe Mutombo would say, “Not in my house.”
More from this contributor:
Why Our Children Rebel Against Our Favorite Sports Teams
Why Ohio Sports Fans Will Love “Draft Day”
Why I’m Rooting for the Columbus Blue Jackets to Make the Playoffs