Have you seen the new reality show called Kid Nation? It started last week and I only caught the first 30 minutes of it because Tivo had to record something else halfway through. Basically, they took 40 kids between the ages of 8 and 15, gave them food and cleaning supplies and dropped them into this ghost town in the desert.
Now at first, this idea really appealed to me to see how the kids interacted with each other. Did they form groups, who did they accept as leaders (the old or the wise?), how did they learn to survive (trial and error or relying on those with wisdom in those areas already), etc.
But, as with almost all kid activities, the adults ruined it. They left the kids an instruction book. Told them to divide up into teams. Told each team what they were in charge of. Chose leaders for the teams...and get this, they're giving out rewards to the 'model citizen'. I'm not nearly as interested in it now...but Matthew seems to be so we'll watch it until he loses interest.
Do adults think so little of kids that they just had to give them an instruction book on how to cook mac and cheese? And if a 15 yr old can't do some simple calculations on how to prepare mac and cheese for a group of 40 instead of for one (himself), mass American education has a lot more issues than I can name. But I saw the 10 yr old girls stepping up, trying to follow a recipe left behind for them. And I saw the 15 yr old boys being bored and trying to not 'play by the rules' - the first night after they picked "teams", the oldest boys are out defacing the other teams signs. This is the same 15 yr old who seemed, on the first day, to really put some heart into it and step up and help out the younger ones. I wonder what made him change his tune? Did he first have the impression that he was one of the oldest and they'd all be looking to him for wisdom and leadership? Did he realize that, once again, he really wasn't in that lucrative position in the least when the adults stepped in with their 'helpful hints'? I don't know. But my inner psychologist would love to talk to him for a while about it. ;)
Did you catch the show? What did you think? Am I totally nuts? :)