Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thursday Thoughts # 91

from Changing Nature by April White:
"Millicent believes the world should be a certain way, and she will twist her own corner of it to suit herself with very little regard for what's actually true."

Harry Dresden: "Kids. You gotta love them. I adore children. A little salt, a squeeze of lemon - perfect."

Today's Thought:

This is disturbing.

In our Saturday paper I read: 

"Digital generation five-year-olds are starting school unable to grip a pencil properly, cut with scissors or even hold a book up the right way because they are hooked on technology."

"...they are failing to gain basic motor skills."

"...many digital-age children were reaching technology milestones before they could do more traditional tasks."
"It's the modern reality, and teachers are seeing it first hand that children do not have the fine motor skills of even five years ago."

"Kindergarten teachers throughout the country say children are entering school without the necessary pencil grip and they can't manipulate scissors."

"This can hang over into primary school because they don't have the dexterity."

"Children are spending more time tapping, sliding and pinching than on what they should be doing - crumpling with paper and all the traditional things kids used to do."

So, what can we do about this?  I no longer have small children at home, my kids are grown up now. And I'm rather glad they all spent lots of time with pencils, chalks, and tins of watercolour paints. 
My grandchildren did the same, although they did have computers available.
One of their favourite things to do was draw huge pictures or just designs on my driveway with big fat chalks. 
They did have computer time, but it was limited.
They are grown up now too, and have their own smart phones, but they also know how to write and draw using traditional methods.

I can get on my soapbox and say "Mothers, please, give your kids time with pencils, crayons and stacks of paper to draw on, write on, tear it up if they want, but get those traditional fine motor skills learnt."

But is it too late? Everywhere I go I see small children with Ipads, smartphones, instead of a good old fashioned book. Not just school age, but toddlers too. 
Look around next time you're in a doctor's waiting room. How many small children are being read to by parents while they wait to see the doctor? How many have Ipads and are busy scrolling and swiping?

Is it just that parents don't have time anymore to sit and show a child how to hold a pencil? 
Is it the convenience of keeping a child quiet and busy with something that moves and makes noise  when fingers are touched to screens?
Is it that toddlers, babies too, see their parents and siblings with their eyes and fingers constantly tapping, swiping and demand the same? How can a sheet of paper and a fat crayon possibly compete with a shiny something that beeps and sings at you?

Sometime, somehow, a compromise must be reached, before we have a future with adults who don't know how to properly hold a pencil and sign their names.





31 comments:

  1. A long time ago, it doesn't matter when, I read a book about the future where almost everyone had a superior mind, but their bodies were shriveled and useless. Those of less intelligence were the 'workers' that took care of them. The workers ended up taking over the world.

    When the educators began talking about eliminating cursive writing, I was upset. So many of the traditional way of teaching is going the way of all things and our future is headed there too, if we don't help our children be children and learn the tactile way. I guess I am preaching to the choir, but I understand what you're talking about. Such a shame!

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    1. S.J.Qualls; that is a scary movie! Withered bodies with nothing to do but think all day! Would they be pleased they are so smart? Or would they sit and wonder what it feels like to walk and run?
      Cursive writing is tricky for so many people, because the one style isn't taught universally anymore. There's cursive and modified cursive and of course "doctor's scrawl". If only there was time for teachers to teach the beautiful copperplate style that many elderly persons still use when writing Christmas cards etc.

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  2. That is just crazy that parents, teachers and other children caregivers aren't doing more to offer children opportunities to create and imagine. My grandkids do have time on their computers and such but they also use crayons, markers, scissors and pencils. Parents and other caregivers need to go back to some of the old standbys. If this is happening that children really are losing their motor skills, things have to change. Very sad that we would allow this.

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    1. Cheryl; I think the article was a bit exaggerated, but even so, there are far too many kids learning to operate ipads etc at a very young age. I also know of households where books are unknown apart from what you get at school. Magazines by the dozen, but real books? No.
      My grandchildren had colouring books, craft kits, stacks of 'butcher' paper to do what they liked with. Scissors, paints, play doh; the oldest girl learned to sew and made her own skirts when she was ten.

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  3. The Dresden comment was stolen from W.C. Fields. I get the feeling it's a very old joke.

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    1. R.H. thanks for that. I've heard and read the quote many times, always by different people, but it was in the book I was reading at the time, so I copied it here.
      The quotes I put up are always from whatever book I'm currently reading.

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  4. As someone whose fine motor skills are shot (courtesy of MS) I add my plea to your choir. They are so important and a lack of them makes small tasks much more difficult.
    Read, draw, craft. It pays dividends.

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    1. Elephant's Child; I hadn't thought about fine motor skills being lost to MS, that's a terrible thing. To have had the skills and lost them must be worse than not learning them in the first place.
      Read, draw, craft; yes yes yes. And one other thing - how many kids are unable to manage buttons and shoelaces now that many clothing items and shoes have velcro straps instead?

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  5. Replies
    1. joeh; more of a concern if people don't take notice and act now to reverse the situation. Turn off the screens and send your kids out to play.

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  6. I agree. Remember when I recently wrote about the comparison between my 9 year old niece who wasn't allowed technology until maybe 6 or 7, apart from a dvd player for long car trips. Whereas another niece can scroll on her mothers's phone to watch a kids programme at the age of 2. The older niece at the age of 9 spends a lot of time in front of the screen now and is hard to distract, so I concluded it did not matter much in the long run, but as you correctly point out, it really does. She has all the skills a girl her age should have, and some more.

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    1. I should have added, I am a bit worried about the two young nieces though.

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    2. Andrew; I remember your writings about your niece and remember comparing her with my grandchildren, who DID get screen time, but usually sitting on the mum's lap or on a chair close by and after a while she'd say that's enough now, go and do something else. If your younger nieces get plenty of time away from screens so they learn other things, they'll be okay. It's the balance of times and skills that needs to be learned.

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  7. As a up and coming grandmother my grandchildren will be taught to paint and draw, write and count and if all else fails I will teach them to ply cards, knit and sew.
    Merle...........

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  8. Of course I ment play cards, I will teach them to read what they write something I have never done.
    Merle

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    1. merle; you're a crafty woman, sewing, knitting, painting, even making garden paths. I think if your grandchildren spend time with you, they will learn a lot of useful skills besides the screens that come on their toys.

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  9. All mans life among men is nothing more than a battle for the ears of others.
    To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation. This is something our future generations will not achieve by parking their backsides in front of a computer. Probably in years to come humans will become voiceless and return to using Semaphore and the Morse code. I suppose a nod is as good as a wink.

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  10. Vest; listening closely and replying well are skills I don't have. This means, for me, the internet is better, because I have time to organise my thoughts and formulate my replies.
    Face to face, I'm a tongue-tied doofus.

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  11. The earliest writing was on stone slabs called tablets, the script was probably well thought out beforehand because of the work involved. Nowadays there's an electronic thing written on called a tablet and it's damn easy; billions of words everyday. I get thoughts down on anything that's on the table here: gas bills, envelopes, advertising flyers, because by the time I got a computer running I'll have lost it. Longhand writing will never be obsolete, It's the bones of anything good.

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    1. I hope you're right with writing never being obsolete. But it isn't just the writing, it's all the fine motor skills some kids are missing out on.

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  12. River. I did say "Mans life". You should know by now I have difficulty conversing with ladies in the flesh, despite them endowing many blessings upon me in the past, in most cases I was overpowered by their delightful dominance and flowery talk. BTW has there really been a case of a tongue tied female.

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    1. I'm very sure I'm not the only tongue-tied female out there.

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  13. Yes, I saw reports about that, too. Very disturbing....the world as we knew it is rapidly changing...and I'm not sure if for the best.

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    1. Lee; some things are for the best, but if we lose our skills along the way, we could be in deep doo-doo. There will come a time when technology crashes and no one will be able to do anything else. Not good at all.

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  14. I see it as of great concern.
    Surely these skills begin at home in formative years? If so, why are so many parents ignoring to provide – and encourage – the fundamentals such as basic skills?
    To sit at a table with reams of white paper and draw, paint, glue and make together.
    Are the adults really so very busy?
    Have Apple gadgets become convenient babysitters?

    Already, youngsters are no longer taught woodwork and metalwork in school.
    Nowadays, there are hardly any sheds in backyards where dads and granddads once taught children how to make things on weekends and holidays.
    The satisfaction of creating something from scratch with one’s hands is not often sought it seems.

    There may well be too many techies, and not enough tradies in the future.

    I fear we’re speeding towards "the singularity". Some say that’s a good thing.
    I’m not so sure.

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    1. Vicki; those formative years are the most important of all. once kids are in school, they need to pay attention to the curriculum, and if all they're learning there is technological as well (that time is coming I fear)we might very well end up with kids who don't even know what a pencil is.
      The woodwork and metalwork, learned at Dad's or Grandpa's knee in the shed, those days are fast being lost, with everything now made in China and too many people living in highrises with no yard for a shed. The only way out of that is to teach these things in school again, but there's no room in the curriculums, it's all business technology. And what happens when five million kids graduate with degrees in all this fancy computerising and there are only two dozen jobs available because most work is done by computerised robots?
      We're facing a scary future.

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    2. We, or rather our children's children, are facing a kind of worker drone like future, many ruled by the few...

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  15. .. I understand the concern regarding the loss of writing and fine motor skills in children ......
    but.. I believe that it wont ever come to be a major problem......isolated cases, yes.... but widespread ..no.
    Basic human nature doesn't change.... and mums and dads will still teach their children to walk and talk and play and eat with utensils and dress themselves .... and so on....because it is in us to do this ... we want to see our children grow in many ways ...
    does it really matter if the writing is cursive or printing .. but there will be writing, of this I'm sure!!
    ..hugs ...Barb xxxx

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    1. Barbara; widespread? perhaps not as soon as we fear, but it could very well happen that way if steps aren't taken to ensure these skills aren't lost.
      You make a good point about human nature, kids will learn to walk and talk even without help, it's the way of man; but the finer points will still need to be taught as you've said, but too many parents use gadgets and TVs as babysitters simply because they both work and by the time they get home they're often tired. For this reason I believe the workforce needs to change from its 9 to 5 regime and become far more flexible and day care centres too; which is more likely where a lot of the early learning skills like drawing etc are being taught. Why can't we copy Sweden (I think it is Sweden) where big businesses have company run creches in the same buildings, so parents can at least have more time with their kids?

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