In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 20, 2008 / 19 Menachem-Av 5768

Reality check on tweens

By Marybeth Hicks

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Fair warning - this column is going to be a rant. But bear with me because it's possible you also saw Sunday's USA Weekend featuring tween icon Miley Cyrus on the cover with the headline, "Why You Can't Ignore This Face."

The story wasn't about Miley, per se.

No, the article inside was titled, "The Secret Power of Tweens." It was a culture piece about the influence of today's 8- to 13-year-olds.

According to the article by Michele Meyer, "Kids who aren't old enough to be in middle school, let alone high school or college, are determining what cars, clothes, computers and music we buy, what movies and TV shows we watch, even how we talk and write."

She connects the dots between the power of today's youth and the marketing machine that feeds their appetite for consumption, quoting one Robert Thompson, founding director of the Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University: "It has nothing to do with development, other than of early and loyal lifetime shoppers ... If you can make an 8-year-old into a consumer, you potentially have her for 70 years."

The bottom line in this cultural trend is simply follow the money. The article cites children's marketing expert (yes, there is such a thing) James U. McNeal in estimating that tweens spend or influence their parents to spend $500 billion a year. That, says the story, is enough to buy both Microsoft and Google.

OK, stand back. Here I go.

There are three things seriously wrong with this article. First, no one quoted in the piece used the words "ridiculous," "inappropriate" or "insane" to describe the tween power trip.

Second, the role of parents in perpetuating "tween power" was summed up only in a quote from college professor Elayne Rapping, who blames our societal youth-obsession. "Children are cool, and the older you get, the less cool you are. ... Kids have more influence over their parents than vice versa."

Whew. I thought the problem might be something shallow.

Problem No. 3: Apparently Ms. Meyer didn't think to find an expert on the trend among tweens to contribute to the income of their households to pay for the many cool things over which they have unprecedented influence to buy.

Can you believe that? She missed the part where kids today go out and get jobs so they can help pay for their cell phones and movie tickets and customized Nike shoes and personalized Xbox 360s.

Oh wait. This would be a generation of children that expects to have every gadget and gizmo long before they're old enough to even flip a burger or bag your groceries. And besides, who would want to do a lame job like that when you can be a star like Miley Cyrus and make millions?

Which brings me to problem No. 4 with this article. (I know I said there were three problems, but I'm on a rant, remember.) Simply by landing on front porches across America, this article legitimizes a notion that most responsible adults believe is bunk.

Here's the real story: There is a battle going on in American homes for the hearts and souls of a generation of children. On the one side are marketers, who don't care whether it's good for kids to become materialists from the tender age of 8. On the other side are parents, who are trying to instill nonmaterialistic values.

It's an epic battle, folks, and one we all had better fight.

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"The Perfect World Inside My Minivan -- One mom's journey through the streets of suburbia"  

Marybeth Hicks offers readers common-sense wisdom in dealing with today's culture. Her anecdotes of her husband and four children tap into universal themes that every parent can relate to and appreciate. -- Wesley Pruden, Editor-in-Chief, The Washington Times
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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2008, Marybeth Hicks