Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 17, 2012

ROOT: The crumbling of a generation

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — October is the month when all of the scary movies and television shows are popular, and this year there are a lot of scary movies out there.

As I have said many times in the past, you can tell a lot about a society by the way it entertains itself. The ancient Romans used to cheer human sacrifices, in many different forms, in the Coliseum for entertainment. The French people revolted in 1792 and started lopping off the heads of aristocrats for fun. Both activities seem a bit extreme, but those were different times.

These days, there is a plethora of horror movies for people to choose from each and every year. I remember the movie “Black Christmas” opening on Christmas Day a few years ago. For those that don’t know, “Black Christmas” is a horror movie. The wide availability of horror movies eclipses the scant selection of Christmas movies that the American family has to choose from during the holiday season. There is just something wrong with that.

I guess what bugs me about that is how it is really hard to justify taking a four year old to a horror movie during the holiday season. Yes, there will be a couple of decent movies for children during the holidays, but there will still be a lot more horror movies. Why is that?

Have you ever stopped to look at the subtle signs all around you that our society is crumbling to dust? I was recently told about a second grade class in a local school that assigned homework to the students. To me, that just sounds normal. But the parents of the children complained because they did not want to have to spend time helping their children with homework. The problem with our society is that parenting, and the act of being a family, is a dying art.

When my brother and I were growing up, it was extremely easy to tell how important we were to our mother. She always did everything she could to make sure that we had what we needed to get through school. She never, ever let any of her personal issues get in the way of making sure that my brother and I had everything we wanted when we were growing up. She made good parenting look easy.

After a few years of being a parent myself, I know that good parenting is not easy. I can tell by the strong sense of responsibility in my boy and his ability to tell right from wrong, most of the time, that my wife and I did a pretty good job with him. But I have seen plenty of kids my son’s age that I wouldn’t want to spend five minutes with. I see those parents dragging their kids through the store and screaming at their kids instead of listening to them. I never wanted to be that parent, and I think that had a lot to do with why my boy was never that screaming kid.

Adults are so ready to blame video games, the Internet and cell phones for their failings as parents that they lose sight of the truth. My kid had video games, the Internet and a cell phone and we never lost touch with him because we insisted on spending time with him. How can a parent not want to spend time with their child? I don’t understand that, and I never will understand it.

So I see the trends in movies and I see movies made by major motion picture studios starting to trail away from family movies. If the studios make a kids’ movie, they will make something that parents would never want to see. Is there any parent that would really want to see the Justin Beiber movie? I love going to the new animated movies because most of them are more entertaining than the live action flicks that are being released. But the ratio of good animated movies to bad live action movies is horribly skewed in the direction of bad live action flicks that it gets frustrating.

Maybe I am making too much out of this, but the whole trend away from family blockbusters bothers me. If we don’t have our family, then what do we have?

Would it kill parents to insist that the whole family eat dinner together every night? We got our son hooked on the drive-in movies and it wound up being something we did every Friday as a family.

Don’t blame the Internet and video games for your shortcomings as a parent. If you really want to help your kids, and help the future of our society, then spend some time with your kids and listen to what they have to say. You never know, you may be missing out on something really special.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and sentimental old fuddy duddy. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net, but just be quiet and try not to wake him when you send emails.