The other day I had a thought about my wife. It was not nice – the thought was: “It’s dumb that you don’t know that”. She was referring to the fact that she didn’t know squash molded. I basically thought she was dumb for not knowing that any vegetable would become moldy if left alone long enough. “How could she not know something so basic?”
And then it hit me. I often think this way when people do not know something that I know – or at least about something I think they should know. Have you ever experienced this in yourself? Why is that? What’s wrong with me? Why am I so quick to label someone as unintelligent or plain “dumb” if there is something they don’t know? More than this, it has become increasingly more apparent that this is a staple posture in our culture, especially among younger generations.
A person in today’s world does not necessarily come to know what they know through pedigree, university or even personal experience. The modern “student” attends the school, in every back pocket or purse in America – the phone, tablet or some other piece of technology with access to the internet. As a matter of fact these little devices have earned the reputation of being “smart”. We consult them for things ranging from navigation to knowledge. There’s an entire school in our pockets and most of us check the role sheet every day. We pride ourselves on what we know about our world, having learned it first hand from Professor iPhone, iOs.
My kids will grow up this way – experiencing information in a way that no generation before them experienced it. I want my kids to know that the information at their fingertips does not necessarily make them smart people.
You Can’t Google Wisdom – Well, You can, but Won’t Find It
A hundred years ago the method for attaining knowledge was much different. Those who had information shared it conversationally with someone who did not know. Books, conversational teaching and relationships were the medium through which learning happened. Today that’s not so much the case. Google is the means by which we learn these days and we have no love for the “unlearned” or shall I say “ungoogled”. Meaning, the younger generation not only has a general disdain for outdated methods (conversational learning) but also for outdated people. Namely, the un-googled generations that predate the information age.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what technology has done to advance society. I am using it as I type this post – I assure you I am not a technology hater. On the other hand I can’t help but wonder, what this has done to our society? What has this done to our children and how will fathers and mothers respond to it?
I see a generation of children who not only thrive on technology, but who feel that is a essential for life. The Apple TV, iPhone, Wii, Play Station, MacBooks, etc. are all amazing feats of advancement, but what message is our culture sending by these things becoming household items? It begins to communicate that downtime is torture time – that a life without luxury (or their minds, necessities) is a life os seclusion. It’s almost as if these pieces of technology have taught children that it is a bad thing to be alone with oneself. So much so that children often do not know how to engage in the feelings and thoughts inside themselves without the morphine of modern advancement. Childhood anxiety and anger issues are soaring to new heights in our world and I believe that some of this comes from a culture that feels it is a bad thing to allow time for someone to face themselves without distraction from time to time.