Hot Pot and Charades

Food for Thought

At this hot pot party, some people were teasing me about how long my Instagram post would be. They think I’m going to write about the food, but what intrigued me about this evening was the game of Charades we played afterwards. I had never played it before, and I had a hunch that this is not my type of game, and it turned out to be correct. I could not answer a single question. On the other hand, Grace, we learned, has a supernatural talent for it. From the clues like “three words including ‘down’,” she would immediately guess “Black Hawk Down,” leaving everyone else gobsmacked.

She said it’s because she has to guess all the time what her students are thinking, as she is a primary school teacher. I then wondered if kindergarten teachers would do even better as the kids at that age wouldn’t be able to clearly articulate what they want in words. I’d love to see school teachers play a game of Charades. I wonder if the teachers for some grades would perform better than the others.

Another advantage school teachers have over mere mortals is that they are continually in touch with the current youth culture. My daughter is now in high school, and that is the only reason I know the expressions like “lit,” “fire,” and “extra,” and who Kendall Jenner is. When she was younger, I knew what primary school kids were watching on TV, like Wizards of Waverly Place, which I assume nobody watches anymore.

This theoretically means school teachers are experts in youth culture, not just in a particular one but across all generations, at least the ones younger than their own. Most of us are isolated in our own generational culture since we tend to socialize with others our age. The music industry, for instance, knows that our musical tastes do not change once they are set in our youth. The purchasing patterns of consumers prove it.

Most of us form and adopt a value system of our own and apply it to different stages of our lives. It’s like going up in a glass elevator; once the door closes, we only talk to each other about what we see. Teachers, on the other hand, continually adopt a new value system in order to relate to every new generation. They manage the elevator system itself.