Friday, March 10, 2017


The full moon isn't until Sunday.

 I checked because today definitely had that "full moon" feeling to it. Kids picking at each other and retaliating when that someone picks back. You know, general crankiness. But driving home from picking older son up from college, I started thinking about communication and the lack of skill in communication.

Kids at school have fewer and fewer skills in relation to communication. They want what they want and they want it now. I realize this has always been true to a degree, but they have eventually learned that there is give and take in life. This is no longer the case.

Today, in school, they have "turn and talk" but it has to be on the topic at hand. Kids have to utilize technology at school and parents choose to use it as a babysitter for their children and a way of self-medicating for themselves. Children no longer discuss books, they respond to a prompt concerning what they wrote. There are no conversations around the dinner table or while driving in the car. Even a 5 minute ride to school in the car has children watching the built in TV instead of engaging in conversation.

Recess is a thing of the past and those schools that do have recess have a short amount of time. We intervene at the slightest hint of disagreement because we are worried about escalation that will lead to someone getting hurt. There is always a parent who will call and complain if their child gets a scratch, so we impose rules with lawyers, not children, in mind.

Parents orchestrate their children's lives out of necessity of time and a society that has actual stranger predators who seek to do harm.

When are children not monitored by an adult who halts difficult situations?

And now we have adults who are on college campuses who refuse to listen. We have celebrities and politicians and pundits who believe whoever talks loudest wins the argument. They want what they want when they want it. Everyone is so busy yelling and repeating themselves and getting into the role of indignant and oppressed that they don't stop to hear the words the other person is speaking.

Are the choices really WIN or lose for most things? Is there no middle ground on most subjects? How will kids learn how to communicate if there are no role models on how it's done? If it takes a village to raise a child, then this global village better start listening at least half as much as they strive to be heard.

If anything is a matter of life and death the need to communicate effectively is it.

1 comment:

  1. I often think about how little communication skill I see in young students these days, too. I think that the art of conversation was a genteel thing that went out with manner, sometimes. And then I watch kids and realize that they are getting messages across.
    I sense that what you are writing into is that selfish, self-willed talk. Power trips.
    I think that more listening on the part of teachers and parents might be a healthy initiative.
    I was in a school that taught kids to talk to each other for problem solving. My present school staff either thinks they're too busy or that it doesn't matter.

    21st C learning almost boils down to one skill: communication and I don't think that means bopping out texts randomly.
    Thanks for your thoughtful plea.