April 21, 2014


         Has anyone else discovered, the hard way, how tough it is to teach little kids anything these days?
I’m not talking about Math or Science here.
I’m talking about the enjoyable stuff…homey stuff…like baking cookies.
My granddaughter came over the other day.  She is seven going on forty-two, and arrived with the essentials—her cell phone and her laptop.
“Hi, Susie.  Come on in.  We’re going to bake some cookies today.”
“Why?” she asked.
“Why?  Well, because it’s fun and you get to eat the cookies.”  It would never have occurred to me to ask such a question as a child.
“It’s easier to just buy them.”
“So you’re not interested in making cookies?”
“No, not really.”
“All right.  How about if you help me in the garden, then?  I have a little surprise for you out there.”
“Of course, ‘outside.’  Where else would you have a garden?”
“In school we have a hydroponic  garden…inside.”
“Well, call me old-fashioned, but mine is outside.  Come and see,” I said.
Susie rolled her eyes.  “Oh, all right.”
We stepped into the back yard, and I showed Susie the little raised garden bed I’d made for her.  “See?  You can plant whatever you want to in here.”
I was favored with a blank look.
It was as if she’d stepped right out of ‘Village of the Damned.’
“You can grow flowers or vegetables.  You could even plant a couple of grape vines if you wanted to.”
“I don’t think so, Grandma.”
“Whyever not?”
She sighed and looked up at me with an facial expression usually reserved for dealing with severe mental impairment.  “You want flowers, you go to a flower shop and buy them.  You want vegetables, you go to the market and buy them…same with grapes.”
“I think you may be missing the point, sweety.”
“And that is?”
“Well, it’s nice to be able to do things for yourself…to know how to do these things.”
“But I don’t need to.  Maybe Mommy and Daddy might be interested as a way of cutting the grocery budget, but since they pay for everything, this is nothing I need to know about.”
“But you won’t always be a child.”
“By the time I’m grown up, food will be in powder and pill form anyway.  I’m not worried,” she said, giving my thriving vegetable garden a disgusted look.  “Is this really the way you spend your dwindling time on this planet?”
“Yes, it is.  I garden, I bake things, I cook things, I can fruits and vegetables, I sew, and I knit.
“But Grandma, you could just buy all those things you make and use your time more wisely,” this fount of second-grade wisdom declared.
“And how would you suggest I use my time, then?”
         She smiled, pulled out her laptop and fired it up.  “Ever heard of FaceBook?”