This fall, my daughter Sophia will be attending one of our local elementary schools.
Why am I putting her in public school, you may be asking? The main reason why Sophia will be going to one of our county schools isn’t because she will have access to computers in the classroom. Although I believe that kids should use technology in moderation for learning, Sophia will attend a Bradley County public school in order to learn more about people.
In life, people must be prepared to get along with other people in order to live in a community, deal with adversity, learn how to behave in public and communicate, and fight injustice when required; also, in order to be comfortable and stick up for themselves when required.
Stop! Think! Reflect! Be a good father or mother.
Before putting politics ahead of common sense and reasoning, think about what is best for your children. I hold the position that people who are prepared to deal with different types of people will eventually have the upper hand in life.
I honestly don’t think that nurturing children to a point of protecting them from facing adversity is a good idea. Eventually, these kids grow older and become clueless about how the world actually operates.
Here’s a caveat. There is no technology that will solve the problems of your grandchildren when they are bullied later in life because the parents decided to protect them from the evil of this world. Kids who don’t experience interpersonal conflict tend to become severely handicapped in the workforce later in life unless they realize that they are behind, unless they read self-help books extensively and unless they are mentored by someone who actually understands how the world operates and is willing to share.
My parents have always protected me. I was given every technology you could dream of back in the day. The problem is that technology doesn’t teach kids about people.
What I got with technology, I lost in understanding verbal communication, facial cues and body language, and the basic tenets of culture. I had no concept of privacy and space back in Brazil. So I question, how good is technology if you don’t gain the basics of your culture? Avoiding conflict isn’t the answer, either.
Going to a public elementary school helps kids to better understand the role of authority, and helps them to learn how to deal with situations that kids dislike. Yet, they have to learn how to act accordingly.
Kids in public schools also learn how to face and handle conflict. Sometimes, saying something back or retaliating will stop the nonsense, even if the kid loses the battle.
At least, this is what my dear old friend Kurt Dudt once told me. He was a publicly educated former U.S. Marine who trained the South Vietnamese to fight the Viet Cong. There is honor in facing a bully, even if you lose, he used to say.
Look, allowing your grandchildren to hide behind a computer screen won’t protect them later in life. Often, it transforms great kids into cowards, which in itself has some serious consequences. I woke up, came out of the shell, and now people think twice before making me mad.
Your children deserve to know how to defend themselves when necessary against anyone, as well. Virtual schools don’t teach your kids how to handle these things.
Technology is good for assisting kids to learn, but it falls short on enabling children to develop themselves in society.
We need to prepare our kids to be ready to respond appropriately in life so that they can succeed. I hold the position that kids must be able to decipher between good and not-so-good people, and find mechanisms to cope with them.
We live in a diverse world, ladies and gentlemen. Kids should be exposed to other ethnicities and realize that not every family raises their kids the same way.
We can’t always rely on a computer to tell us how to think or advise us on what to do.
Your grandkids need to know about people. Schools, not technology, are a playground for it.
——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)
(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at luiscalmeida.info).