What happened to time for each other ? Rushing everywhere many of us find little time to stop and talk and listen to each other. Sitting around the table for family meals with no tv’s or screens is rare. Technology has captured our attention and stolen our time. Looking at screens texting to people sitting across the table. That sounds outrageous but it happens.
I substitute taught 4th graders today and the day started and continued with students on laptops … from spelling test to math test all on their laptop. There was no people to people interaction. Eventually I stopped and asked the students to close their laptops.
One of the students had written a story and she wanted to share. She was excited because she warned the class it was scarey. I noticed that they have a mixture of actual life and virtual life in their reality. I found it necessary to point out what is real several times.
The topic evolved to fear and what causes them to feel afraid. It was a lively discussion and even the quietest student got involved. They realized that several of them had the same fears and used the same strategies to deal with the fear. Their imaginations had blown small things into big scarey fears.
We talked about having the courage to face our fears. We took a break and then came back and wrote about those fears. (With paper and pencil). Before we started a student wanted to share that there was another fear several students have…The fear of death. I asked them to discuss this with their families and ask them to share their beliefs about what happens when we die. We spent an hour without technology listening and talking and writing about something real and it was wonderful.
There was a student teacher in the room and on our break she shared what happened with a couple weeks off of her schedule. An app on her phone showed she averaged 5 hours a day on social media. She was shocked and vowed to limit her time.
There is nothing that takes the place of listening and being heard. What is in the mind of our children will surprise you. Some of it is confusion from all that bombards them. They need to talk and find the reality outside of the virtual world. Close the laptops, put down the phones and interact face to face looking at each other. Listening is a gift to be given to show you recognize each other’s worth. Listen.