Conversations at our dinner table have been robust this week over two articles: first, How to Raise Boys That Read from the Wall Street Journal and next, Are we raising a bunch of idiots? from Associated Press (printed in the Deseret News).
A few excerpts:
WSJ– So why won’t boys read? The AP story drops a clue when it describes the efforts of one frustrated couple with their 13-year-old unlettered son: “They’ve tried bribing him with new video games.” Good grief.
One obvious problem with the Sweet****s philosophy of education is that it is more suited to producing a generation of barbarians and morons than to raising the sort of men who make good husbands, fathers and professionals. If you keep meeting a boy where he is, he doesn’t go very far.
DesNews– Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter “literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else.”
Teenagers are so accustomed to either throwing their clothes on the floor or hanging them on hooks that Maushart says her “kids actually struggle with the mechanics of a clothes hanger.”
The Wall Street Journal piece is a well-written argument for why the current trend of offering gross-out books for boys (I’m too prudish to even type out most of the titles) is a foolish method for raising good men. Raising a Bunch of Idiots focuses on the lack of basic skills in the younger generation. While the tone is quite different in these articles, each elicited the same question from my family, “Where are these kids’ parents?”
It’s easy to blame a kid for when they are unable to tie a shoe or scramble an egg, but the fault clearly lies with the parents. How can a child learn to clean a toilet if a parent isn’t offering instruction? No one is born with the innate knowledge of bathroom disinfection.
But I wonder if these articles are just so much hype? When I asked my sixth-grade son about the trashy books, he acknowledged that yes, some kids read them, “But most kids aren’t allowed to check them out. My friends read really good books and recommend them to me.”
And yes, we all know a neighbor that indulges their children with the newest video game, super phone or iPad, but the majority of parents I know are very selective about what they bring into their home. They set limits, make rules, require manners and finished chores.
What do you think? Are we a terrible generation of parents? Do you think kids are spoiled by technology? Do your kids do chores? How do you balance modern conveniences with old-fashioned work?
p.s. and where are they finding all those pull top cans? Our little crank can opener is overworked.