My friend, Greg, sent me a link to this video. I needed the reminder. I easily start slipping into a "conveyor belt" form of education by default because it's what I grew up with. It was nice to be reminded that each of my children has the same potential, but different talents, interests and specific missions with those gifts.
I actually went to the RSA sight and watched the entire talk. It was good and funny, but he does go into several tangents so if you don't have an hour to watch the talk (I watched it on my Iphone as I made eggplant lasagna last night), the above video has the most important highlights anyway.
I had several thoughts as I watched it, but one thing that struck me is when he mentioned that in education (especially in the arts) we need to use our senses - to be completely aware and awake to experience the moment. He mentions ADHD drugs and how sad it is that their overperscription is putting the senses to sleep when we ought to be waking them up in education.
I thought about the fact that there are many other things that we are doing to our children to put their senses to sleep. They are surrounded by things that overstimulate and dull their senses. We are surrounding them with loud toys with lights and buttons, coarse music, constantly changing images on the television, movies that stimulate their feelings, busy schedules, endless information on the internet, etc. Children need time to think, to ponder, to feel real things!
Something that has been such a concern to me lately is video games. We had one little boy over the other day that seemed really at a loss when I told him Bud couldn't play the Wii or computer games. He didn't know what else to do with himself and he wondered aimlessly through the house. I remember reading Elder Bednar's talk about Things are They Really Are, and understanding how incredibly damaging this vicarious world of video gaming is. Children spend their time in a pretend world that overstimulates and drowns out their real senses. How are they supposed to feel the beauty of a symphony, for instance, if their ears are still ringing (figuratively) from the noise of their environment? More importantly, how can they hear the subtle whispering of the Spirit when the instrument of their spirit is being bombarded with the exciting and sensational?
Teachers at school are trying to compete with this stimulating home environment. This is a hard task! They are trying to make their lessons more entertaining, their books more exciting. Gone are the days when children could sit at their desk and memorize a passage. One of my son's friends is required to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid for his class at school. My daughter's friends came over the other day and started singing the Christmas songs they had learned at school. They weren't even real Christmas songs. They were silly songs sung to Christmas tunes to make them more funny and exciting. It worries me, frankly, and I wonder what will come of it all.
Let's give our children a simple, real environment where they can use their imaginations, where they can sit and think, where they can dream and wonder. Let's make our home a restful place where the Spirit can whisper to their soul. They might think they are bored at first, but they will fill the void with real thoughts, real creativity and real sensibility.
To quote Keri Tibbets,
"I am trying to make their lives so real that they can actually recognize and appreciate things of real value when they find them. I want refine their tastes so that they can tell just how lovely reading great books can be, instead of providing them with activities that dull the senses so that they need perpetually more sensation all the time in order to feel any thrill in their minds and hearts. I want them to know and enjoy great art when they see it...One of the saddest things that I can imagine is to waste these enlightening opportunities ---to grow up with them all around us and not really taste them because of numbness. The most beautiful reward that I have reaped along this journey is discovering that my own children have ears that hear and eyes that see and hearts that feel."