Are you surprised to hear that college courses don’t include books over 200 pages because students have been dumbed down by the digital world? Students are losing their ability to focus and stay on track during courses. A Rutgers University admission representative is quoted on PBS saying only 6% percent of incoming freshman have the writing and reading skills needed to succeed at college.
The constant interruptions of IM’s, Facebook pings, Twitter tweets, text messages sent to the person you are standing next to and other activities have created a generation unable to compete in a global environment. Right now, in this immediate history and future, other developed countries are moving ahead of the USA by leaps and bounds.
What will help these students? How will we heal their education gap? A successful economy needs these educated, literate and well spoken employees to be a player in a worldwide free-market economy.
What have we done to our children and their children? This is not the fault of our splendid teachers who are doing their best to teach a world-class education and help students learn to lead the way into the next economy.
This is the fault of tour generation of parents that let television and technology become their babysitters that kept their kids out-of-the-way and on the couch while all of those wonderful cardboard boxes we turned into hours of fun into were fodder for a recycling bin.
Read to your children — it’s not going to help if it’s the computer reading to them. Teach your child to write their names, the ABCs and count to one-hundred. Get your children outdoors and into group play — call on others to have their kids join the parade. Reward your children for their creative and imaginative play with their peers. Teach them how to be socially adept and internationally accepting of cultural differences.
The internet is NOT the real world and the dragons and dwarves of games are a huge moneymaking segment of the toy and game market and they are making money off of their games. If these games are your children’s vicarious life don’t cry when you need assistance in your golden years and they want to link you up to a machine where you will have virtual health and still be bedridden. All they will know is their guild and they won’t be able to spell it.
We can teach the younger generations of technology users to be prudent and wise about choices they make and that’s our job. It is not the job of any technology company in the world and take your children back into your arms. Take care of our children — they have the life we built for them and our job is to make it a better place to live and grow and create.
For the next 60 days please practice making a person-to-person contact with the youngest members of our world-wide-family. Share with them about you and where you live and what it was like when you were six, thirteen, twenty, first kissed, weddings, then ask them to tell you the same about their history.
If you are traveling take a book you can read to children along the way, heck if you are home do the same thing.
Have some vacation time? Use it and give the service sector of our economy a break and get some good ju-ju for your soul. Haven’t talked to a family member or friend for more months than you can remember call them and have a LIVE conversation.
Lost a friend along the way g try to find them and find out how they are.
If you know someone who diagnosed with a serious medical condition find out what’s on their bucket list. And, if you can make it happen, make it happen and go along for the ride.
Write letters to your children that describes your life as a child and young adult — was there running water? Did you walk to school? Wear a uniform? Serve in the military? Tell them how you love them and give them the gift of knowledge about your life that they could use when they make those benchmarks. Tell them silly stories, about a broken-hearted first romance — the first time you got kissed.
Give them life and write one to each child, put it in an envelope and mail it. This is not the stuff to have in a digital record that can’t be read in the future due to changing technologies. Take photos on film and make copies (another though that no photo files will last as digital technology goes forward) for everyone.
If you have an “enemy” out there that was your friend or family member — be braver and bolder and send an olive branch and suggest a healing of old rifts.
One last thought for this posting and that is if you love someone – your best friend, family, romances, teachers and other mentors write them a love letter and tell them what they mean to you. It s more priceless than a ten carat solitaire diamond set in platinum. Get those sheets of paper out, find a pen and envelopes, get stamps and let the mailboxes of your life see a love letter and not another advertisement for getting carpets cleaned.
I’ll update you in a month about the ones I am writing.
February 2nd, 2010 is Groundhog’s Day and I am delighted to let you know the Groundhog saw his shadow in Portland and there’s only six weeks of winter weather left. Bring on the tulips and daffodils.