Do you remember taking a plane ride where tiny little TV screens were placed through out the plane and a movie would play during the flight? Only one choice and you all had to watch it together. You couldn’t start and stop it. You’d just plug in your headphones and watch with everyone else.
Of course now things are different. Everyone has their own little screen in front of them with endless options. You can stop and start your movie or TV show at anytime.
The entertainment is tailored to everyone’s individual needs and wants.
It is the same thing with listening to music in your car. There used to be a couple of radio stations on but now everyone can use their own music player to listen to whatever they want.
At home, my daughters never have to compromise on what to watch on TV. If one doesn’t like the show, she simply goes on her tablet and picks something different. When I was growing up, my siblings and I had to negotiate who had control of the remote.
I miss the days of laughing with everyone else on the plane when a funny scene would come on during the inflight movie. And gone are the days where you’d pull up to someone at a red light and notice they were singing along to the same song as you. I enjoyed watching and learning something new from my brother while being forced to watch his show on TV.
I’m worried that entertainment has been so customized to everyone’s individual likeness that there is little to unite us and is taking away the need to compromise. Negotiating and compromising are important tools to teach our children but there isn’t a lot of life experiences we, as parents, can use to teach that art to our kids.
Will this younger generation struggle to learn to compromise? How will they understand the concept of patience when everything is a click away? I’m tempted to go the old school way and take away the tablets and force my kids to share the TV. Or should I adapt to the future and accept that the times of fighting over the remote; waiting for commercials while getting all your snacks and bathroom breaks in; chatting with your siblings about their shows, are over?
I think finding a middle ground is key. Screen time is limited in our house but now with the warmer weather, it will be easier to cut down on that and force my children to play together outside. And I’m sure new situations will arise that will be help me teach my kids about compromising and sharing. Maybe even new situations that don’t exist yet. I’m sure my grandparents never anticipated every child having their own mini television in their hand. Who knows what the future holds.
In a world that admires immediacy and where patience is no longer considered a virtue, I’m going to make an effort to slow down and be mindful of teaching my children all different avenues of entertainment and art and music.