Sunday, March 01, 2015

Children need unstructured time; they need to be allowed to be bored.

Una amiga publicó este artículo en Facebook. Para mi, hay mucho aquí que tiene sentido común

Lots of unsensational good sense here - in my opinion!
Absolutely bang on. I think the paragraph on the factual knowledge of a ten-year-old is a bit off-track, because ten-year-olds can absorb that amount and variety of information to a degree (not necessarily knowing any background, thinking about it at all or remembering details) just as human beings can travel at higher speeds than was previously thought, without suffering physical damage - and the female of the species can be educated to as high a level as the male without developing psychosis through over-stimulation of her less sturdily evolved mental and emotional system. 

But constant stimulation? No downtime? 

Show me a parent whose personal observations don't match this research to some degree, and who doesn't worry about over-stimulation. Education is - beyond doubt - the key to self-determination and the only basis for stable and healthy society in the long term - locally, nationally and supra-nationally, but how ironic, how destabilising, would it be if the effect of all this input - all the stimulating education and extra-curricular activities - and the ability to process information like no previous generation - is a generation of dysfunctional drones with under-developed emotional and creative cores. 

In practice, to be honest, I don't think it will come to that, because the human race is extraordinarily resilient and our emotional gyroscopes adapt, generation by generation: every generation since Aristotle'sis on record as bemoaning the degradation of society in one way or another, but on we go. 

However, in my personal opinion (and experience!) over-stimulation does indeed create addiction. Previous generations of parents had to deal with the impact of TV, but at least you could switch the TV off, and know that most other parents were inflicting the same deprivation and unspeakable mental cruelty on their own children. Even in households with multiple TV sets, this remained the case. This is the same issue, but at an altogether different level, not least because most of us adults have the same addiction. Walk down a street, or through a park. Sit in a cafe or restaurant. Get up, out of the shower, into your car, on the bus, off the train. What do you do next? I'll bet it involves a handheld screen. Oops. Desconectar translates as unwind; it's a verb to do with getting your head out of work by going for a walk or a bike ride, getting out of the city for a day, meeting friends, going for a drink, playing football or tiddlywinks, reading a book, having a long bath. 

A fantastic yoga teacher turned this on its head for me. She said that what we should use a different verb now: Conectar. We need to get back in touch with the stuff that the combined forces of our jobs and our addiction to our mobiles/smartphones/tablets etc. are cutting us off from. I think she actually meant Nature. But I'd say it's ourselves... and our relationships.


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