The Kids Are Alright

While I often write about standards of decency and appropriateness in mass media and my fears regarding how a “lowered bar” may affect my kids and others, two recent conversations have me rethinking my level of trepidation.

While guest teaching a Michigan State journalism class on crisis communications last week, I provided the students with two separate adversity management scenarios, asking them how they would handle each. One strange but true case dealt with security at a local mall discovering an individual who had expired of natural causes in a restroom. The class had obviously listened to my lecture and presented action steps, including contacting the authorities and informing mall employees. A female student added another: redecorating the restroom; in turn, making it less ominous for future visitors. Somehow, I found that to be an incredibly endearing gesture and suggestion.

Later in the week, I attended the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) annual awards dinner where the table talk turned to MTV. “How do you police such programming where your kids are concerned,” I was asked. “You know what?” I answered, “They actually gravitate on their own to more wholesome programs—some that I used to watch as a kid—such as ‘The Brady Bunch,’ ‘Fresh Prince,’ and ‘Full House.’ It was a comforting realization. Maybe, amid the ‘leave me alones’ and ‘give me my space’ I was actually, somehow, getting through to my children after all.

“Teach Your Children Well?” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had it right. In today’s crazy world, I can’t think of anything more important.