Unless you live in isolation, you’ve probably noticed young people questioning authority more often than you might have at their age. As I address in chapter 7 of Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World, many of our youth struggle with authority for several reasons. This Baby Blues comic strip demonstrates one. (The strip’s messages are usually positive. They’re always relevant to our culture.)
The children are watching an old television show and laughing as they realize “the dad is the smart character.” But, look more closely at the strip. The mom/wife is laughing, too. What might the kids learn from her response?
I wish Baby Blues hadn’t further exposed the reality that media often writes men and dads as being dumb, out-of-touch, and often irrelevant. This just serves to give kids (and wives) permission to believe it’s true.
I’m not naïve. I know some dads aren’t engaged with their families. Therefore, they can come across as being out-of-touch and even stupid during some conversations and experiences. If dads read this comic strip, maybe it served to get them thinking. I’m sad if it made them doubt themselves if they have no reason to.
I know many people don’t read comics today. I still do – it’s part of my comfort time, reminding me of my childhood maybe. I realize more adults than kids may have seen the strip. It’s dangerous for adults, too.
What have you noticed lately that indicates we can behave as if we need no authority and/or can ignore authority or people in our lives? For instance, there’s a current television commercial advertising a device to improve people’s hearing. In it, the wife wearing the device keeps talking about how much it improved her hearing while she’s ignoring her husband who is trying to get her attention. She then states something about hearing what she wants to. She’s totally disrespecting her husband in this ad.
If I was watching this with kids, I’d have them pay attention to it and then discuss it as a teachable moment. Look for these opportunities. Be alert and discerning so you don’t get subtly sucked into believing authority is unnecessary and you need no one.