Monday, August 28, 2006

Freshman Mindset

Beloit College creates a list each year to help us realize what the incoming class of freshmen has as their mindset. It's interesting to realize that this group of freshmen, class of 2010, has grown up with no Soviet Union, one Germany and bar codes on just about everthing.

The Class of 2010 "...grew up with a mouse in one hand and a computer screen as part of their worldview. They learned to surf the internet as they learned to read."

From their website:

"...this year’s entering students form “a generation that has always been ‘connected’ and is used to things happening in ‘real time,’ like live satellite coverage of revolutions and wars, instant messaging and movies on demand. They expect solutions for every problem, from baldness to diseased organs. To the chagrin of teachers and parents, they’ve developed their own generational means of communication.”

The Beloit College Mindset List is used by educators and clergy and by the military and business in their efforts to connect with the new generation. Beloit creates the list to share with its faculty in anticipation of the first-year seminars and orientation.

"It is meant to be thought-provoking and fun, yet accurate. It often provides the base for good opening seminar discussions as faculty and students address the challenges of examining important issues from differing perspectives."

For the complete list, click here. And many thanks to Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, who created the list.


Do said...

Well, according to this list some of my memories never existed. :)

Like gasoline for $.17 gallon, bread at $.15-.20 loaf, a carton of cigarettes (not generics) could be had for $3.75, and a steep mortgage payment was $90/month.

Banks were only open from 9 - 4, there were no satellite branches, no ATMs, and no Saturday hours. They also closed at noon on Wednesdays. (I still don't understand why on this one, but it was the way it was.) Hospitals and airplanes/trains/buses allowed smoking.

I remember B&W television, old westerns, family based sitcoms that didn't include cursing and profanity, even soap operas where people weren't shown taking a midday tumble in bed.

People knew their neighbors, their neighbors' kids, pets, and extended families. Kids had respect for others and their property. Cars were big and built like tanks. There were no mandated speed limits. Schools had a zero tolerance attitude/policy for disruptive students, teachers had the power to punish within reason, and your folks could wail on your backside when you came home from 'study hall' (translated into detention!). And God help you if you got suspended! Death was a viable option in regard to the punishment meted out at home!

You respected the elderly, even if you didn't understand them. You had manners, common sense, and you knew just how far to push the envelope in a tantrum before it backfired on you.

If I had, just once, spouted off to an adult like some of the kids do today I would STILL be picking carpet fibers from my teeth. If I had, just once, used the "F" word or threatened any adult with a call to the police, I would have had to dig the phone receiver out of my .... well, you get the picture.

Technology has created a wonderful environment for sharing thoughts and ideas. That's a given. But along with this technology comes a level of responsibility that's not being taught as well as it should. The responsibility of having and using good sense, to maintain a level of mutual respect - not bullying. To not forget that the other person may, or may not, be in concurrence with you and they have that right.

The last 40 years have shown so much change it's truly scary. But everyone should have the opportunity to sit and talk and LISTEN to the observations of someone in their 80's or older. The life lessons from these survivors are invaluable.

Oh.......for the simple life.

Kate said...

I looked at the link too last night. It made me feel old, so I went to bed.

But this morning I thought about some of the good ol' days too. Apparently on the same line as Do.

I remember being upset when milk hit a dollar a gallon. I told the grocer - "but it's milk. It's just milk, not gold".

I also remember not having a television growing up until I was in high school. (Prior to this Dad had a tiny black and white one on his closet shelf that was hauled out for football games and the President. Only), which we were not allowed to watch. Dad came home after work - threw his shoes in the closet and felt the back of the tv. If it was warm somebody was in trouble.

AND if your chores and homework weren't done by then - there was corporal punishment. God himself help you if word came home from school that you'd been in trouble.

Anybody else remember the phrase, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" - ?

I also remember getting into a fight in the park with my sister when a woman I didn't even know grabbed me by the arm and my sister by the ear and gave us both a violent shake. This was expected - that adults didn't allow kids to misbehave - even if their own parents weren't around.

I also remember Sunday afternoon drives, receiving a rare 'good job' and celebrating good grades. Working on family stuff, like washing windows and cars. Picnics and going to the neighbors to play or have dinner.

We can incorporate the good stuff in our lives. We're allowed.

Maggie Thurber said...

I don't remember gas at $.17, but I do remember hearing my parents complain when it went from $.25 to $.29 - and it was still full serve where they washed the windows, checked the oil, checked the air in the tires and filled them if necessary.

I do remember when some banks were closed Wednesday afternoons and I, too, wondered why. But they also had suckers that they handed out to all the kids - or sometimes candy dishes next to the teller's window.

I also remember when any adult could correct or discipline a child or teenager who was misbehaving and that only meant that you'd get two punishments. One from the adult and a worse one from your parents for having embarassed them by having some other adult have to discipline you.

I remember being taught that I had to stand if there was an adult who needed my seat - even in relatives' homes, a child could sit on the floor much easier than an adult. Nowadays, children seem to think that they entitled to rule the house and that you are somehow abusing them if you ask them to sit - rather than sprawl - on a couch.

I remember when my parents used to get dressed up to travel on a plane and the concept of "being presentable."

I also remember going home at lunch time - not relying on the school to feed me - and how sad I was that my mom worked and all the other moms were in the classroom being 'room mothers.'

I miss the Halloweens where we knew it was okay to eat the apple that came from the lady in the big yellow house on the next street over and we didn't have to x-ray the candy first. I miss the old black and white horror movies (Lon Cheney, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price) that you watched after the news on Friday nights because they scared you without being gory.

I miss the 'simplier' days and wonder if my parents felt the same way when they were my age.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I do remember buying gasoline at 17.9 cents a gallon and full service stations.

I also remember the concept of dresssing up and being presentable.

However, all of those things started changing after WWII and Korea, in the fifty's.

I won't be here for the next fifty's and that is probably a good thing.

Oh, and I remember Walt Disney, before he became a popsicle too ;-)

Do said...

More observations from the past:

1. The ONLY Disney attraction was in California. I went in 1958 (think it was '58). Have NEVER been to that impostor in Florida and I lived 90 miles from it for almost 25 years.

2. Family vacations were taken by car or train. Only the rich traveled by plane - when flights were available.

3. Bikes were simple - one gear, for the most part - and that gear was directly related to your feet and legs. Then there was the English Racer! Wow! What a bike!

4. You said please, thank you, yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir. There was no such thing as "huh?" or "so!" or "I don't care!".

5. Computers (1960's, 1970's) were HUGE and took up entire floors of office buildings. At least for those that were cutting edge enough to have one. The one I worked on was about 18 feet long and made more noise than a jet aircraft.

6. Having friends of other races and cultures was still very experimental. And if you lived in the wrong kind of household it would get you in deep stuff. Thank God that part has changed drastically.

7. Being "presentable" was not unique. We always dressed in our best to go out to eat, go to the bank, go to any appointments, and especially to go to church. And the girls always wore dresses or skirts. No such thing as shorts, jeans, slacks,etc.

8. There was a standard cocktail hour in our house. My folks always had a drink before dinner and discussed the day's events. Always sans children. We didn't need to know about their work and finances. That was for adults.

9. No meant NO. There were no tantrums, no screaming, no crying in order to get that new doll, new kite, new bike, or even a candy bar. If you got told NO - then that was it. Anything else was not acceptable and would cause you serious discomfort in the area of your backside.

10. School was mandatory. You didn't get to skip out on classes, miss a day to shop with Mom, play sick and then take off to the store. If you were well enough to stand, you were well enough to learn. There was no discussion.

11. If you had pets you better take care of them. If you ignored them, they found new homes. And you better not cry about it.

12. Your friends were your friends. But your family ALWAYS came first. No discussion on this point either.

13. You were punctual. Being late intimated laziness. This was not allowed.

14. If you said you would do something, then you did it. No last minute "I changed my mind" or "I'll do it later/tomorrow/next week" or "I don't want to". Not happening - get up and do what you said you would do. It taught us to be more careful about what we committed to.

15. Boyfriends: Hmmmm - we (my sister and I) were allowed to have them, but they could only come over when the folks were home, had to stay in plain sight, and if you sat too close there would be some 'interruption' in your visit. "Good girls" didn't touch or kiss. (This was a little too much for even me!)

16. Stand up for yourself, but don't be rude - unless you have to be. And be very careful about that.

17. Rely on yourself. That way if another person doesn't live up to your expectations you aren't nearly as disappointed.

My folks were very "with it" in many ways, but they still managed to teach us some very basic lessons. While they would tolerate a lot from us during our 'growing pains' they also would let you know, in no uncertain terms, that that would only get you so much rope.

My folks are gone now, but I will forever remember the lessons, the laughter, the tears and the thankfulness I have that they were the caliber of parents they were. Even when I didn't understand their reasoning.

Ashley said...

I think that this is just the way of the world. Things change; time progresses and so does technology.

That is just how it works. Everything advances. I bet the turn of the century children missed the horse and buggies when cars became common, but I'm sure your generation doesn't. Thats just how it happens.

As much as people would prefer the way things were: where you said excuse me if you bumped into someone, and smiled at the people you see passing. Where you had respect; and got the crap beat out of you if you didn't. As much as we want that, it's apparent that we have lost that along the way.

I'm a senior in high school and no offense to the generation before my own, but it's your fault. If you had taught your children these values, we would be in a different place. If you had shut off the television, and given us a book, we would be better off.

You let TV be our babysitters. You gave us cell phones for our twelfth birthdays. You gave us unmonitored access to the Internet.

Are we the ones who diagnose ourselves with ADD? No, it's the parents who don't want to discipline their children because it isn't PC. Who believe, that more than anything, children need "freedom to express themselves".

We have become this society that doesn't care about anything anymore, and we kids don't know anything else.

I wish the people of my own generation had a different view on life, but it's not our fault. We were raised, or not raised, this way.

Hooda Thunkit said...

”13. You were punctual. Being late intimated laziness. This was not allowed.”

Today, I bust my ass to make sure I’m on time to the theater, concerts and the like, and someone inevitably comes out to say “We’ll get started in a few minutes folks, some people are running a bit late.”

I HATE the accommodation…

By doing that, they’re thumbing their noses at those of us who are always on time.

Maybe we should only patronize the venues/events that are punctual, and let them know that catering to the late/lazy is unacceptable to those of us who aren’t.

(Uh, where did this soapbox come from, and what am I doing on it?)

Do said...

Ashley said:
I wish the people of my own generation had a different view on life, but it's not our fault.

Well, Ashley, I wish the people of your generation had a different view, too. BUT, that would defeat the growth process that each and every one of us has had to go through.

If you are aware of the differences, the things that are right and wrong, the proper and improper actions then it would be YOUR responsibility to share those bits of information with others your age.

Your post leads me to think that you blame your parents, who in turn blame their parents, etc. In real life we are all responsible for our own actions. Family influence is just that - influence. It's not the absolute end when it comes to knowing and practicing right from wrong.

Do said...

Hooda ---- I thought I took that soap box away from you some time ago! ;)

Steven J. Kelso Sr. said...

Sorry, but Ashley does have a great point. Children do not have the responsibility to raise themselves -- that's our job.

The baby-boomers ruined this country.

Ashley said...

Do, I see your point. Knowing right from wrong is what puts us out there as intelligent, thinking beings. That being said, some teens, and children don't know what they are doing is wrong.

If you are never taught how to behave, and therefore behave badly, then how are you supposed to know otherwise? Especially when you have been behaving one way for so long, and don't consciously know you are doing wrong? How are we supposed to know right from wrong when we were never taught it?

Generally kids behave the way they see thier parents behave: it is a learned behavior. And if you don't know it's wrong, you can't do anything to fix it.

Besides, I am not blaming my parents for anything. You see, I am a well adjusted, intelligent girl who cares about the well being of others and is only mourning the loss of those traits in my generation.

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