When I was a kid I would watch what my parents watched. We only had one small TV and because nobody had a VCR or a DVD or a PVR until I was much older we had to watch things live. I remember watching things like Doctor Who, Star Trek, Magnum PI, and when VCRs finally did come into being I remember watching James Bond movies.
What was really special was our Friday night tradition of watching The Dukes of Hazard and popping pop corn. We would get in our pyjamas and wait for 9 pm to roll around and we would watch the good ol’ duke boys play havoc with the nasty sheriff and driving much faster than they should have. I remember these nights along with family game nights as some of the best times of my childhood. It was a treat to stay up late. It was fun to be part of a tradition.
Tonight Aidan stayed up a bit late with us as we were watching the US election results. He was so interested that it was hard for us to be motivated to bring him downstairs to get ready for bed. When we did bring him downstairs he said something that stuck with me, “Learning who won in the morning is not the same thing as watching it live.” In a time when we watch almost everything after it has aired we don’t get the same experiences that we did as kids. It is part of the reason that events like elections are interesting. We like to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Odd, I was going to write a post linking tv traditions that I had as a child to my children’s experiences, but I think it is turned into something else entirely. Over the last few years I have made it my goal to make sure that my boys see either Anthony or me vote in every election we are eligible to vote in. Aidan is fairly politically aware and knows who our Mayor is, who our Premier is and now, who our Prime Minister is. He knew that Barack Obama was the president of the US and he was well aware that there was an election going on in the US. If we keep our children politically aware and model voting behaviour to them, do you think we can get better voter turn out in our own country?