I was seated on the rail, and the little boy asked me to do a back flip to the other side of the stairs. Gosh, why should he think that? And I said it wasn’t safe to do so. Of course, I wouldn’t add that I couldn’t. What would he think? Then he answered that the power rangers could. Oh, television, making kids believe the not impossible but dangerous thing again. So I told him that that was the power rangers, that it was television, and that they weren’t real. He got quiet for a moment, and then turned to face the others who would believe the power rangers fantastic. I envied him.
There was a time, while growing up that I wouldn’t go to church because I wanted to watch TV; there was a time, in those days, that I listened more to/for what they had to say on TV than… And while acknowledging the contributions of my teachers and classmates in primary school to my ability to speak English, TV really made a difference. It was language learning by immersion; It provided all the examples we needed to build sufficient intuition for English, and without stressing the technicalities of the language. The child was immersed in TV.
Now, I may not recall most of the technicalities, but I speak like I know enough of them. Truly, and regardless or language, the explicit knowledge of the rules of sentence construction, grammar, meaning … is irrelevant to fluency.
What we had on television, then, was innocuous compared to today’s childrens’ and teens’ programming; even perhaps more helpful intellectually. This reminds one of the evolution of the swim suit and bikini.
So, sated with cartoons, series TV, and some network news, we grew.
These were some of my TV teachers (the regulars, not exhaustive, perhaps incorrect/misspelled titles):
Sesame street, Captain cave man, jumbo, jabberjaw, Scobby and scappy doo, Some mothers do have them, Knight rider, Inspector gadget, Dempsey and Makepeace, the love boat, Matlock, CI5, Jacko, The avengers, The new avengers, Jake and the Fat Man, Moonlighting, Jemima Shaw investigates, Tom and Jerry, Ovide and the gang, Superted, The ‘A’ team, Another life, Samurai X, Voltron, Thundersub, G-force, Speed the racer, Danger mouse, Atom ant, Allo allo, The wonder years, Hanna Barbera cartoons, The Adventures of tom sawyer, famous five, little women, Domby and son, The adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, Muppet babies, fraggle rock, ghost busters, family matters, the cosby show, the Jeffersons, a different world, the fresh prince of Bel-air, Roger Ramjet, Different strokes, Fawlty towers, Chips, The Amazing Spiderman, Dukes of hazard….
Tales by moonlight, Cock crow at dawn, Behind the clouds, The new masquerade, Basi and company, Jagua, Ojo Ladipo theatre group’s Aluwe, The NTA news (of the time), Checkmate, Samanja ….
It played a significant part in my upbringing the man said. His teenaged daughter responded, “when I am married with my teen kids, I’d tell them same of the internet.” They’d grow up with the internet too you know, said her father. Ah pops, who knows what new thing will evolve and grip people’s lives by that time. We watch television, but the internet is such a powerful competitor for our attention and it provides a credible alternative to living vicariously via TV. Its more real, it’s realtime, and allows for way more personal expression. You’ve gone all romantic about it my little lass; hard to think of anything to beat the internet. Old man dad, I pray you live to see my grandchildren. You’ll see the new norms then and think back to now. Hey young woman, I am not old!!! Hehehe, so you say, so you say; it’s what you think that matters, right? Anyway, the internet of things seems to be a viable next step in its evolution to the point that it would overshadow the internet as we know it now. It would still be there, but invisible to the point of nonexistence. It’s already happening and it was proclaimed by the creation of IP version 6. Slooooow down, you just lost me there scholar. Well Sir young daddy I was just talking about how the internet would evolve and be used in the near future, and an underlying enabling technology for this. Ha! My little baby has so grown fast and into a smart mademoiselle. Daddy please stop with the reminiscence and nostalgia she said with a grin, remembering fun times with daddy and mummy from days gone by. I’d really like to be regarded as I am now, a big girl. Well miss, when you get to be a parent, you can choose to not savour the memories and joys of raising your kids. And I doubt that you’d choose to deny yourself that pleasure. She jumped on him and hugged him tightly with her eyes slightly tearing. I love you daddy, and I love mummy too, sooo much. You’ve given us reason to doubt that a few times though. Same here too pops, taskmaster, know all, kill-joy and what else. Yeah yeah and ’tis all for my good, I know, she said, loosening the hug. Missy? Yes dad. Seeing you have such a broad selection of words in your personal vocab, you could also paint our parenthood in a little more positive light to our hearing and not just to your mates. Em, daddy. Yes? What were we talking about before we got here all emotional and stuff? Oh that the TV will always be there to distract you from homework and housework if you let it. And remember our previous talk about the internet? Heaven, how could I forget with mum on my case everyday. Good. Now, off you go big girl, your turn to cook dinner for the family.