A few weeks ago we went down to southern Illinois to visit the family farm. Every time I go down I keep forgetting how many cool things there are to see down there. Like Heron Pond, the northernmost cypress swamp in the US, as well as Garden of the Gods and Cave in Rock. There’s also this far out hippie colony where creative types sell their art and stoners sell the stuff they pick up at garage sales.
If you're interested, here are some photos featuring some of the cooler things we saw down there:
Anyway, back to the hippie stores.
As I was perusing the strobe light display in on of them, my son struck 1980s gold. There, in a basket were trading cards: Dick Tracy, Ninja Turtles, Batman and... New Kids On The Block
I’ve mentioned New Kids On The Block before in my post Teen Idols Through the Ages
. It was a boy band that formed in 1984 and, man, were they ever HOT. With chart topping songs like “The Right Stuff” and “Hangin’ Tough,” the five boys from Boston -- Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Joey McIntyre -- had girls across the land in a frenzy.
Back then they didn’t have the internet. Fans got their info from magazines and trading cards -- sweet trading cars -- dreamy pictures....detailed info... rapture!
The KNOTB ones were from 1989. I’ve got to say, they’re quite a time capsule. That, of course, translates to hysterical, which means I had to have them. So I plunked down $1.50 and skipped out of the store.
I soon realized these cards had to be shared. I'm a giver. That's just who I am. So, if you’re interested, click here for some NKOTB trading card fun
. If you’re not, click anyway. I wasted too much time scanning these. It's the least you can do!
Summer is here and school is out, which means my life is officially crazy. Sure, I can sleep in a little more and the burden of hounding the kids about homework has stopped, but those things don’t support my argument. So instead, let's focus on all the extra meal-making and chauffeuring I have to do. To make it easier, I tried to get a new car for my daughter, but the dealership refused the trade. ;) Seriously, though, I'd like to talk about the hardest thing there is about summer: the pressure to make sure my kids are ‘productive.’
It seems summers, these days, are less about relaxation and more about getting ahead.
It’s weird. We’ve got a lot of kids in our neighborhood but I rarely see them around. They’re all at camps, classes, and practices to increase their skills -- make them stronger, smarter, better. I’m curious, am I the only one who thinks this is strange? When did the bar get set so high? When did pick up baseball games at the local park turn into daily practice and weekend tournaments three hours away? Kids are taking ACTs when they’re sophomores, or younger. Private tutoring is a booming business. Plus it seems like a parent’s social status revolves more around their kids’ accomplishments than their own. That’s a lot of pressure -- for both parents and kids - -causing headaches all around. Plus we all know the higher we raise our expectations, the greater our chances for disappointment.
I know, I know. Global competition is fierce. The economic gap is widening. A lot of parents are worried that their kids won’t grow up to have lives as good as what they’ve got right now. Parents want to give their kids a fighting chance, but are they giving them ulcers, too? And this ‘program for success’ we’re feeding them, does it allow their independence and creativity to blossom?
I wish I knew the answer to all of this, but I don’t. I just know I don’t like it. But if I boycott this movement toward over-parenting, will that put my kids at a disadvantage? Kids today seem smarter and more talented than they’ve ever been before. Still, statistically, half of them are below average. Scary thought?
Anyway, I’m curious to hear what you think about this. Got a moment? Give me your thoughts!