Virtual School Meanderings

December 26, 2013

Mindset List’s Third Annual New Parents’ Advisory

From Monday’s inbox…

This message is being distributed on behalf of the authors of The Mindset List. For more information, please contact:

Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Public Affairs at Beloit College
Phone: 608-770-2625

Tom McBride, Professor of English at Beloit College
Phone: 608-363-2307

See more at

RE: Parents’ Advisory for January 1, 2014

As the calendar flips to 2014, announcements will fill the media of the first child born in the New Year. These new parents will start preparing for the future, imagining what it will be like when these precious bundles grow up, graduate from high school, and head off to college around 2032.

Ron Nief and Tom McBride, authors of the annual Beloit College Mindset List, here offer their yearly advisory on the questions that these parents should be prepared for. “At some point you are going to have to explain yourself and your generation to the inquiring minds of your children, so it is best to recognize now how rapidly things change,” they suggest.

Below are 18 revealing questions or requests that these new parents may one day have to answer:

1.  What were you carrying around in those big backpacks when you were in school?

2.  Why did you go to only ONE college and why did you go for FOUR years?

3.  When you did your grocery shopping online, how many hours did it take for delivery?

4.  What sorts of programs were offered on television when it was free?

5.  My college gave me a full scholarship plus they are paying me $40,000 a year to play basketball for them.  I don’t understand why you played for nothing when you were in college. Didn’t the NCAA Semi Professional College Athletic Union negotiate contracts for you?

6.  Why do they call the digital fund transfer app on my pocket computer a “checkbook”?

7.  When you were a kid and the lights did not go on automatically when you came into a room, how did you find the little switch in the dark?

8.  Isn‘t it great that I can stay on your health insurance until I am 30?

9.  How did you ever figure out that computer keyboard with the letters in such strange order? Keyboarding must have taken a lot of time.

10.  Have you seen my 3-D pen? I’ve misplaced it.

11.  Do you think that your having worked down at the Microsoft campus for the past 25 years will help me to get a job there when I graduate?

12.  On which website did you meet mom?

13.  Why is that old guy Edward Snowden living on a boat in the middle of the ocean?

14.  Why do Senate Third Party Leader Ted Cruz and his followers keep reading Green Eggs and Ham every year?

15.  How long have they been trying to figure out what Iran’s nuclear reactors are really for?

16.  How did you remember what all those keys and passwords were for before the introduction of thought identification software?

17.  Since we now have Tasmanian Tigers and miniature Mastodons down at Biogene Park, do you think we will see real dinosaurs as pets someday?

18.  Now that I have broken up with the first great love of my life, I think I need neurocosmetic surgery to get rid of all the painful memories.

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