arts in education

Danger is my middle name

This is an op-ed about a new book called Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do). There is a blog too. I am reading this more as an educator rather than a parent.

I am concerned when I walk into a classroom and kids don’t really know how to think for themselves. They can repeat everything they’ve been taught by the principal or their parents, but they can’t create an original thought.

And they don’t know how to work together. Compromise, listening, contributing are all very difficult for them. All of school time is programmed so they will be prepared to pass NCLB tests and afterschool time is spent rushing from activity to homework to dinner to bed or to TV to TV to dinner to TV to bed.

I was at the grocery store with the skiddoos one day and they asked to get something in the frozen dessert aisle. I said yes, but they could only get one thing and they had to agree. An older couple was walking by around this time and laughed out loud at me and the man said “Good luck with that. ha!” And in about the time, the kids had chosen a box of popsicles (Scribblers, their favorite – “look, we can scribble on you, Vicki!”) and were carrying it together and giggling together. I was very proud.

I’m concerned about the future. But I think the kids in our house will be ok.

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One thought on “Danger is my middle name

  1. Vick —
    I could easily comment on every one of your posts! As a adult who grew up in the time before bike helmets, before playgrounds with rounded edges and rubber chips underfoot and safety rules posted, before “play-dates” and “helicopter parenting”, I have to say I feel kind of sorry for this generation. Our whole neighborhood was our playground. During the summer, we knew it was time to come home when the street-lights came on. We played, created stories, learned to compromise and negotiate, all without grown-ups hovering over us. Sometimes we got into fights, and sometimes we got our feelings hurt, but our parents — for the most part — stayed out of it, and let us work things out for ourselves. We were encouraged to be independent. We learned that playgrounds and backyards were places we could play and run, but stores and restaurants and museums were not, and if we wanted to go to these places, we needed to behave appropriately. And so we did.
    Kids have so little freedom today — they are so often over-scheduled with activities that there’s not a lot of time left for just kicking around and being a kid.

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