I´m not sure just what I hope to accomplish with any of this. I do know that I want to start marshaling my thoughts, and writing is the best way to do just that. So, that´s what the goal is. Marshal my thoughts. If anyone gets a benefit out of it, great. If it makes an impact, even better. If it leads to a fundamental shift, wow.
I am worried about a lot. I know that every generation before me has been worried about the generations after them, especially the youngest ones. So I am not breaking any new ground here. Kids need to play. Kids need to have limits. Kids need to be taught. Kids need to figure stuff out for themselves. Kids need opportunity to fail. To make mistakes and to rise up. What am I worried about?
There are so many ways to not think now, and we don´t really like to think. It´s not something we do without effort. We tend to choose things that don´t require much thought. It´s some sort of energy saving device. We are mammals after all. Is the typical home, now, a place where no one is thinking? Is it a place where parents and children alike take to their own device and connect themselves out of the present, remove themselves from this realm and into a different, less thought inducing, reality? Is that the norm? That´s what I´m worried about.
I´m worried that children, for the first time in Human history, have access to the adult world. And if the adults that love them do not shield them, or at the very least guide them, from and through this world, then very bad things will happen. I teach 5th grade. The things kids laugh at...a series of prank videos where a person randomly sprays people in the face with a fire extinguisher....a vine in which someone has just been clipped by a car (on purpose? by accident? accidentally on purpose?) and as he is rolling around in pain, someone voices over, "he needs milk!".... memes that poke fun at people suffering...oh, and Nazis. If you type Nazis into Google Images inside of your doc or slide, it shows a bunch that have been doctored and memefied, and the kids laugh. Oh do they laugh.
And as I am talking to them about these things, I often get the feeling that I am shouting into a hurricane. That I am dropping a pebble into a tsunami. I worry about my own children. I have no interest, ever, of getting them a smart-phone. And what happens when they are older, and all of their friends have one. Does my position make them outcasts? Can I do that to my own children? My plan is to try and help other parents see why they should take my own position. And if I fail... what then?
Since there are so many ways to dull your brain, turn it into cabbage as Charlie Munger would say, is that making it that much harder for our youngest to even be able to think? I know school needs to change, I´m just not sure it needs to change in the way we all think. Actions lead to mindsets. What actions do we need to make sure our students are doing, that will help them to thrive in our present and any future that comes their way.
And so these are my starting points. Let us see what comes of this, shall we?