It’s hard to get old

November 6, 2009

Posted by Jonathan Barnes

We Outreach Educators come from a variety of backgrounds as well as a variety of perspectives. In general our ages are relatively within the spectrum of “early twenties” to “mid thirties”. With that in mind, we do our best to connect with children of all ages. If you ask your average Outreach Educator, we can probably tell you at least something about the Jonas Brothers, High School Musical, and an occasional nugget or two about Hannah Montana.

What I find interesting, however, is when a student relates to OUR interests. For example, when I am doing a program in a school, students often times see me nursing my morning coffee from a travel mug… a lovely gift from my lovely fiancée. This travel mug has one of those customizable liners to which one may add pictures. As a child of the “Nintendo Generation”, my mug features pictures of characters from some of my favorite video games. Few things will stop me in my tracks faster than a young student who comes up to me and says, “I LOVE HALO!”

That being said, an interesting thing happened to me this week. As I was supervising a hands-on session of fourth graders, I spotted a young lady wearing a Nirvana hoodie. As a big fan of 90’s Seattle music, my interest was piqued. I walked over and asked, “Do you know that band on your shirt?”

The young lady replied, “No. It’s my mom’s. I just borrowed it.”

I ended up doing a quick bit of mental math and realized that this young lady probably wasn’t even a glimmer in her parents’ eyes when Kurt Cobain passed away…and I instantly felt old.



  1. Working with elementary kids will do that to anyone though. Although I’ve never felt bad about how much older I am than the elementary students in the building are, what makes me feel old is when I have conversations with high school volunteers and we talk about all the “retro” things in style that came from the 80s, or what video games were like when I was young.

    Last week talking to some high schoolers I brought up the fact that our family didn’t own a computer until I was in middle school, and they were fascinated by how life was even possible without cell phones and computers and the internet being ubiquitous. I know I’m only ten years older than them, but it made me feel much, much older.

  2. Jonathan, great post. It gets worse: I realized the other day I’ve had a favorite coat now for 18 years. It’s old enough to enlist!

  3. Jonathan! Love your stories, and I love this blog. What a fantastic idea. I’m going to bookmark it and relive my days on the road. 🙂

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