My younger kids enjoyed watching “The Magic School Bus” on PBS years ago. I didn’t mind because it was mostly educational. But today’s version apparently includes scaring kids by telling them that a monster will get them if they don’t live the green lifestyle. Propaganda is alive and well in children’s programming. What a shame!
A British professor confirms what we already knew: children need free play and time alone in order to learn!
Matthew Crawford had a wonderful piece in the New York Times last week, where he discussed the lack of silence in our lives and how much we suffer for it.
His focus was on the pervasive advertising that surrounds us, but that’s just one facet of our loss of silence. We live in an increasingly noisy world, and that’s bad because we need silence to think.
It’s especially important for children to have periods of silence in their lives. How can they think if they’re being bombarded by sound all the time? How can they develop a rich thought life, and learn who they are?
Parents who are blessed to be home with their children most of the time can and should control the amount of sound (and silence) their children are exposed to. I was one of those parents, and I tried to include silence in my children’s lives.
When they were babies, I didn’t always pick them up the moment they awoke. I still remember standing in the hall listening to them coo, and babble, and later on, chatter, as they woke up on their own; those are great memories. By the time they were toddlers, they liked being alone in their beds in the quiet, so they rarely fussed about having a daily nap time. As they got older, they still had naptime, but they didn’t have to sleep. Instead, they could lay quietly on their beds and read or daydream.
I often sat with them in the backyard and watched them play, or took them to the park where they could hear the birds. Fortunately there were no cell phones then to chirp or play music incessantly, even in public parks, as there are now.
In the house, quiet times were common. The children had limited television time, so the rest of the day, the television was off. Sometimes I’d have music playing on a radio or tape player, but most of the time the only noise was our chatter amongst ourselves, and the children’s laughter.
I’ve written before about how parents need to be careful not to spend all their valuable time with their children chatting on the phone; that came from my childhood experience of having a mother who was on the phone for hours at a time. The background noise of hours’ long adult phone conversations isn’t really good for children, especially if they hear things they’re too young to hear.
Today, there are blaring television screens in children’s restaurants like Chuck E. Cheese’s (as if there weren’t enough to do there already) and stationed at public swimming pools. Even the silence of the public library is polluted by people chatting on their cell phones. There are few places children can go to be in silence so they can think about their world.
If parents don’t purposely give their children chances to experience silence, where else will they find it?
I used to think that it was up to parents to prevent young kids from using cell phones and older kids from using Facebook, and that by doing so, they’d be able to keep their kids from getting sucked into these time wasters.
Of course, my kids are grown, so what did I know? It wasn’t until I learned that my little nephew was being left out of play dates and birthday parties because he didn’t have a phone to receive group texts on (apparently parents don’t “do” printed or phoned party invitations anymore) that I realized just how pervasive texting has become.
Then there’s Facebook. Supposedly off limits to children under 13, it’s a huge source of bullying among the preteen and young teen set. Some kids have been driven to suicide by online bullying; how tragic!
One might think the key to preventing trouble on Facebook is to limit your kids’ time on the Internet. I was able to do that with my crew, who only had access to a desktop computer in our main living area for years. But today’s kids, who have phones to text with so they won’t be left out of the social scene, can also access the Internet and therefore Facebook on those same phones.
Parents can’t possibly supervise kids on their phones 24/7. I suppose they could make their kids check their phones at the door when they come home, but I’m getting the impression that today it would be considered child abuse to do so. Besides, some moms are too busy on Twitter and Facebook themselves to monitor their children’s phone usage anyways.
Do I sound like a curmudgeon? I feel like one. I’m with the writer who recently said that Facebook has stolen childhood. I’m not sure how parents can recapture childhood for their kids once they’ve given them phones (and unlimited use of them), but it would be worth a try.
I spent much of my childhood playing and reading books. My kids did the same. Will they be the last generation to have done so?
I’ve written extensively about the many negatives of public schools: herd mentality, negative socialization, indoctrination, bullying, etc. As much as I see homeschooling as something positive in its own right, it’s also a great way to give your children a far better education than what they’ll get in a public school.
But I never dreamed that yet another reason would crop up, one that would make it imperative that people take their children out of the public education system: increasing numbers of these teachers are sexual predators.
And it’s hard to know which ones are the predators. For example, who would look at this young woman, an Iowa math teacher, and suspect that she sends nude photos of herself to students and performs sex acts on them?
Or this young man in Pennsylvania, another math teacher, who sent dirty texts and a thong to one of his students, promising her extra credit if she sent him a nude photo of herself AND it turned him on. How creepy is that?
While teachers preying on students is not unheard of, we’re seeing new reports of such teachers on a regular basis these days. The fact is that sexual predators are in schools all over this country, and until they’re caught in the act it’s almost impossible to know who they are. How do you know your child won’t be targeted by one? You can’t know….and you can’t guarantee your child’s safety in school. You can only guarantee your child’s safety by teaching your child at home.