Life coaching: Modern stone-age families

Except for the spaceship that turns into a briefcase and a robot maid named Rosie, our kids have almost everything the Jetsons have at their disposal. They have cells phones that take pictures and movies, webcams, and the internet.

ben goldfarb 88 (photo credit: )
ben goldfarb 88
(photo credit: )
Come on, admit it, you watched "The Jetsons" at least once in your life. In case you grew up in Eastern Europe or on a space shuttle without satellite hook-up, "The Jetsons" was a cartoon that presented a humorous look at the future. At least according to some people. The show was similar to "The Flintstones", which was an amusing look at the past. Both shows appealed to a 6-10 year old mentality, or members of a US senate sub-committee. I decided to share these two shows with my kids so they could get a glimpse into my childhood perceptions of reality. We don't own a TV at home, but occasionally our kids watch carefully selected DVDs on our computer. We got a Hanna-Barbera DVD which featured both of these cartoons for them to watch. Times have changed since these shows were aired in the early seventies. After viewing the DVD, my kids are absolutely convinced that when I was a child, my surroundings were the same as, if not more primitive than, "The Flintstones". Furthermore, they don't think "The Jetsons" is a show about the future at all. They see it as an animated documentary of the present. Except for the spaceship that turns into a briefcase and a robot maid named Rosie, our kids have almost everything the Jetsons have at their disposal. They have cells phones that take pictures and movies, webcams, and the internet, (albeit a highly filtered and censored version of it.) When the time comes, our grandchildren will laugh at our current technology, just as my kids think it's hilarious that I actually typed a college term paper on a typewriter before I migrated to a MAC. So how do we bridge the gap between us dinosaur riding folks and our technologically advanced Jetson children and not look like stone-age parents? The deeper answer is embracing an authentic spiritual tradition that transcends generations. In my case, that happens to be Orthodox Judaism with a Chasidic, Rabbi Kook flavor to it. I do my best to transmit this tradition to them in an engaging and fun way. We are bound by the same Jewish law, and at the same time, we can use our tradition as a springboard for elevating our souls and transcending the mundane. And then there's rock and roll. I don't mean in anyway to compare the two elements, G-d forbid. However, the shallow answer to bridging the generation gap has to do with our similar tastes in music. I love my parents dearly and they should be blessed with 120 years of health and happiness. Amen. However, I could do without their music. For the life of me, I can't listen to most of it. With the exception of classical music that they exposed me to, I can't stomach Lawrence Welk, Barry Manilow, or Frank Sinatra. For the record, they don't have much appreciation for my taste in music either. On more that one occasion during my childhood, they asked me to lower the volume immediately or find another location to call home. In contrast to this, our kids love our music, although we sometimes play it too loud for them. A lot of the music they listen to is pretty decent, as much as I hate to admit it. I even borrow some of their CDs occasionally and I find myself taking my time returning them. The world of rock and roll has unsavory sides to it to be sure. But there's something very positive to be said about parents and children listening to the same music. When the time comes, I'm sure our grandchildren are going to love the Beatles, U2, and maybe some Peter Himmelman as well. Of course they will listen to the music via an eyelash sensitive sensor and a brain implant, but the advanced technology doesn't take away from the music itself. More importantly, my grandchildren and I will study the same Jewish texts together and celebrate the eternal traditions of our people in joy and love. Even though many Torah texts have been digitized, good old fashion Jewish books will never die out. We will always crack open a holy book to study from on Shabbat and holidays. We can enjoy the experience of an analog book in a digital world once in a while, even if Jimi Hendrix isn't playing in the background. Ben Goldfarb was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Israel in 1988. He is the founder and director of Paradigm Shift Communications. He has given seminars and training sessions at Israel Aircraft Industry and Philips Medical Systems. His book, "Double Feature: A Nostalgic Peek into the Future" will be published in the summer. He lives with his wife and children in Jerusalem. For more information about his coaching practice, visit the Paradigm Shift Communications website, or send an email to [email protected] © Copyright 2008 by Ben Goldfarb