Friday, July 24, 2009

How Society Has Changed...

Well... this is a different type of post than I usually post here. Since almost all of them deal with Educational Technology in some way. This post is more of an observation of society and how times have changed in the last 20+ years.

I went and saw the film, "I Love You, Beth Cooper," yesterday. It is the normal teen fare, where there is some overt sexuality, the local bully gets put in his place and the nerdy guy finds out what life is like as part of the "popular clique." The main character, Denis professes his unrequited love to the head cheerleader. The rest of the film is a bunch of teen antics, but the underlying story shows that Denis is on his way to Stanford in the fall and on to a very successful adult life. The object of his affection, Beth, may have reached the apex of her life in High School and may never reach a higher status than the one she had.

The other film that it brought to mind was one that was somewhat similar was "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," which is a classic for most of the people in my generation. I can remember seeing the film in my early 20's and thinking this guy has the whole world "wired." Ferris is a cool and hip schemer, who is about to graduate from High School and go off to college, is trying to have one last great day with his girlfriend and somewhat nerdy best friend and before he graduates.

But here is what I wanted to compare between the two films. Denis' father in "Beth Cooper," is played by Alan Ruck. There is a scene, where Denis' father gives him a bottle of champagne to celebrate his High School graduation and tells him where there are condom's for him to use should the need arise. He does this because he recognizes that his son has worked hard to get accepted in to Stanford and says that, "there won't be much time for Toga Parties with your pre-Med curriculum." In "Ferris Bueller," the smart and somewhat nerdy best friend, Cameron Frye, is played by ... Alan Ruck. Same guy, 23 years later. Cameron has real issues with his father, there is little or no communication between the two, which frustrates Cameron. At the movie's climax, Cameron intentionally bashes in his father's prized vintage Ferrari to force the two of them to talk.

I will make the point here, that Alan Ruck in "Beth Cooper," plays the type of father he wanted to have when he was in "Ferris Bueller." Is this the evolution of our contemporary society, or have we recognized that we have to work with our kids to assist them in dealing with the social issues that they have to confront as teens.

As teachers, we deal with these issues on a daily basis, with a variety of students at completely different places along the social continuum, how we support them as they move forward in their journey towards adulthood is definitely part of what we do to create a whole person.

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