Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Measure of a Parent

So there's this big hullabaloo about this new Xbox 360 thingamajigee. It's way cool, I'm told, and it's all the rage, and all the cool kids have one -- or will by Christmas.

From a blurb I heard on NPR this morning, some people were standing in line for upwards of 12 hours before the store opened just to get first crack at purchasing one of these consoles. One woman, if I recall correctly, was in line for 15 hours,* and was still only Number 6 in line:

Woman: My son called me and asked me what number I was, and I told him I was 6.
Reporter: Does that mean you'll get one?
Woman: I sure hope so!
Reporter: How long have you been standing out here?
Woman: I'd say something like 15 hours now....
Reporter: Wow, you're probably in the running for Mother-of-the-Year award!
Woman: I better be after this! [laughs]

I hate to sound like a crotchety old man, but standing in line for that long just to get your kid a frigging video game does NOT make you a model parent. In fact, behavior like this should NOT be emulated nor held up as the Gold Standard for parentage.

Parents in line, I'm talking to you: Be honest with yourself, you're only getting that stuff to serve as a substitute babysitter for your kids. This does not make you a better parent. Buying stuff to occupy your child's time for hours on end while his mind rots (I'm assuming these things are much more popular with boys) in no way means you're the bomb, except for in your kid's eyes, and then really for only about a day or so. (Don't tell me you're shocked at the thought that a mere few days after your $400 purchase, the love you bought from your son has already run its course and you'll have to renew your subscription.)

Don't even get me started on how kids get everything handed to them nowadays, not having to earn anything or put forth any effort to get all the material entrapments of status and coolness.

"Parent of the Year"? Gimme a break. Explain to me how standing in line to buy a product will actually win out over the parent who reads their child to sleep every night, plays an active role in his development, helps with his homework, and serves as a good role model by just being there. Because in a competition, I'd vote for the latter parent any day.

Full disclosure: I am making up the number of hours people are waiting because I don't remember. But it was a lot, trust me on that one. I'm pretty sure it was more than 8, easily more than 10.


duane said...

Since my parents would NEVER wait that long for anything remotely as cool as an Xbox, let alone xbox 360, I am going to say that they are not cool.

p.p. said...

There is no way in hell my parents would wait in line for anything. My dad would actually laugh at me for even suggesting it.

If I had a child, I'd laugh too! These parents are absolutely, freaking insane.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I am a parent (and a crotchety old woman), and I say a hearty "amen" to your post.

MoDigli said...

I'll have to echo that "Amen" and add a "hallelujah" in there, too. I think people's poor parenting skills have a direct relationship to the number of expensive bullsh*t items they purchase for the brats they are grooming. (wow, I sound old, crotchety, and bitter!)

You should become a parent, Dennis. You'd be a great Dad.