Saturday, August 23, 2014

poverty of mind and hand and spirit...

One of the primary determining factors in whether or not a child will graduate from high school or college is the number of years that child has lived in poverty. Young mothers and fathers working two jobs to enable their children to be clothed and fed sets a noble example for children to follow in their own lives if they are able. But for most, the challenges of poverty are enormous and insurmountable.

Americans, on the other hand, could awaken to what the statistics tell... if we want to fix education, we must also work to alleviate poverty, allow parents to earn a living wage, and resolve the remaining problems in providing health insurance for all.

And yet, Americans refuse to understand the role that poverty plays in the lives of our kids. The US has 21 percent of children living in poverty. Finland, one of the world's leaders in education has less than 5 percent.

Where children have safe homes and parents who have the time and opportunity to invest in their intellectual growth from day one, children are thus moved toward greater capacity in school, but also in life.

There is this strange notion that by giving our children expensive high tech devices to occupy their hands, minds and spirits, we have given them our best, while we ourselves are distracted by our own hand held digital devices. There is a double whammy to that. Children are losing the attention of their parents, and children themselves are losing their engagement in the real world. I've certainly said this before, and will say it again: What we learn, hands-on, by doing real things, has greater lasting effect than that which is learned second hand.

Another factor in all this is that as our shifted the intellectual requirements of most jobs onto digital devices, we have left less dignity and value in skilled human endeavors, and made human beings second fiddle to the machine.

There is no better way of learning than by making beautiful and useful things... be it music, art, or a finely crafted wooden box. The photo above is of cutting a groove for a sliding lid to fit a box for a sphere, a cylinder and a cube.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Doug. Hollywood and other culture-drivers actually romanticize the struggle of poverty, suggesting the mythical shoe strap concept.