Today's Episode of Not Getting It

I guess I shouldn't expect anything much from Parade Magazine. Yet I keep coming back, because I like reading about celebrities I've never heard of, and I've been pleasantly surprised by a few feisty articles, debunking conventional wisdom and afflicting the comfortable (really). But this one is just a load of tone-deaf idiocy: Mitch Albom: The Joys of Summer

I feel sorry for today’s kids. Summer comes, they’re finally free from school—and bang! Band camp. Science seminars. Internships.

Instead of downtime, it’s get-up-and-go time. Chorus travel, archaeological digs, dance tours. My nephew from Michigan flew to Georgetown University for a summer medical program, replete with cadavers. He was 16.

(Am I the only one thinking that the doctor camp sounds awesome?)

When I think of my childhood summers, I remember lying in the grass, hands behind my head, feeling the blades dig into my fingers. I studied the clouds. I joked with my friends. None of us wore watches.

And none of you had a mother who worked outside the home.

BINGO!

EUREKA!

And I am shocked, shocked to learn from Wikipedia that Mitch the Parenting Expert does not have children of his own.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If we don’t enroll our kids in an activity, all they’ll do is text. Or watch TV (and text) or talk on the phone (and text).”

No you don't. I'm thinking, if we don't enroll our kids in an activity, I'll be put in jail for leaving an 8 year old at home by herself to study clouds while I go DO MY FREAKIN' JOB.

...Mitch.

Mitch, Mitch, Mitch.

These are serious times we live in. And you have completely missed the point.

I wonder if the people who've been out of work for 18 months or more are thinking, "Well, we're one illness away from losing our home, but it's worth it because my kid can lie on the grass without wearing a watch while her friends are at archaeology camp."

What an opportunity you had, Mitch, to talk about the economic realities of two-career families, or maybe even single-parent families, remember those? Or to wonder whether three months of summer vacation even makes sense anymore when parents work and other countries are cleaning our clock in math and science. Perhaps an oblique mention of the fact that the gap between rich and poor keeps widening to dangerous levels, especially in communities of color, even as those of us lucky enough to have jobs continue working our tails off.

Aw, who am I kidding?! Who wants to read depressing, eggheaded stuff like that? Much better to offer up a big stinking pile of parental guilt-mongering and get-off-my-lawn buffoonery.

That sells.

Actually it doesn't sell. But it does come free in the Sunday newspaper.