‘Tis the Christmas Season and on your TV screen is a commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts. A family of four, hideously attired in snowflake-embroidered sweaters, appears at Grandma’s door. As the door opens three smiling faces greet Grandma. The fourth, a teenage girl, not only has a totally disdainful expression on her face, she’s not even looking as she furiously texts away.
Advertising reflects the marketplace, and this is today’s marketplace, where young people are so totally disconnected from their parents that in many instances they merely share living space, not a family life. My daughter told me of a family party she attended that was a dual celebration for the patriarch. It was both his wedding anniversary and birthday. As he received congratulations from the group his three sons sat with their heads buried in electronic devices, two playing games and one texting. When she quietly suggested they ought to give their dad at least some time on this important day, they gave her dirty looks and went right back to punching keys and pushing buttons.
The traditional American family may be a thing of the past, and we have no intention of trying to solve this issue or of explaining how we got here. All that matters is that we’re here now, and unless we can figure out how to reach today’s young people, drag racing may die an ignominious death – and this is no exaggeration.