Kids should care about Groundhog Day
Updated: March 3, 2012 8:24AM
So, today is Groundhog Day. A little after 7 a.m. this morning, as we shared a hot breakfast with our families before work and school, we momentarily gathered around our televisions and waited to see if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, telling us whether or not we’ll have six more weeks of winter.
Oh, you didn’t have a hot breakfast with your kids this morning? Everyone wasn’t ready bright and early to see what was going on in Gobbler’s Knob, Pa.? You mean when you told your kids that today was Groundhog Day, they didn’t scramble for a spot in front of the TV to see Phil do a 360° in HD?
Your kids probably cared as much about this generations-old tradition as mine, most likely rolling their eyes, pulling up the weather app on their iPhone and looking at you like you were the one who crawled out from some cave to see if we were suddenly going to have spring.
I can remember going to school as a kid, classroom conversation being whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow, wondering if the results would cause some magical change of season. It all seemed so innocent. I think Groundhog Day is just another tradition lost on our 21st century children, and they’re really missing out on this one. Come on, how fun is it to wonder if a little rodent could be a better weather predictor than the Farmer’s Almanac or Tom Skilling?
Unless it creates a day off of school, our generation of offspring unfortunately doesn’t seem to care about the lesser celebrated days of the year. (Can you say, “Casimir Pulaski Day?”) Maybe old-fashioned tradition is too downright corny for today’s point-and-click kids. Maybe the only time they pay attention to the world as it existed before apps, tweets, texts and Facebook is when they’re tested on it in school. I vote that Phil’s shadow or lack thereof be part of a current events pop quiz in social studies today (although kids would secretly Google the answer), and Casimir Pulaski’s importance to the American Revolution find its way into some exam in a few weeks.
So, granola bars on the go have replaced oatmeal at the kitchen table, and families barely eat dinner together these days let alone breakfast. And no one is ever ready early for school. We live in a world that provides instant food, instant answers, lack of interest and lack of tradition.
I’m not even sure why this Groundhog Day thing bothers me so much. I guess it’s just another reflection of how much the focus of our children’s lives have changed since we were their age, how simple things were, how there used to be time to watch a little woodchuck look for his shadow on a winter morning and go back to finishing breakfast with our family.
And then walk to school. With a 20-pound book bag. Eight miles each way uphill. Now that’s when life was innocent and predictable.
Lake Forester columnist Maria Malin can be reached at email@example.com