This I Believe

Shashi - Naperville, Illinois
Entered on March 7, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children
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I believe that in today’s electronic day and age, it is still possible for children to benefit by growing up in a brick and mortar way.

When I was growing up back in Bellary, India – a city around 180 miles north of Bangalore, the concept of a computer was unheard of. We went to school, studied, had fun and headed home in the evening. Children did home work on time, learned science, math, along with world geography and history, every bit of it, without ever knowing what a web page looked like. The day was cared for by the educational institutions in place, without the need for parents scratching their heads on how to care for the child during the day. The concept of day care did not arise. Now there are schools with state of the art internet technologies in place, with the entire encyclopedia at the click of a mouse, but yet, there is a question of how to keep our children occupied and learn, and to compete with the future work force of India and China.

I believe we have the opportunity to let our children learn things the simple way, for example, through books. Books being so critical to one’s success, my friends and myself walked great distances to buy and study. Now there are libraries open with loaded shelves of books, yet, we ponder on what the next holiday or birthday gift to our child should be – a Nintendo or an x-box?. Back then abacus was used to learn counting at the very young age, but now there are cartoon figures reading the math for us.

I believe in the power of young minds out there, waiting for the opportunities to explore things in a more subtle way. I remember when I was a kid, after a rainy day, we used to rush out to make toy pots and pans with wet mud. Make paper boats and enjoy watching them sail in those small streams. But now, we let our children glare at the TV for hours together to see how to make paper boats and learn pottery lessons-with expensive clay.

I believe that every child is creative in his or her own way. When I was growing up, I remember using empty match boxes to make toy cars and tow trucks. There was no question of batteries running low. Now we run to the nearest store to check out which batteries are better for the toys – Duracell or energizer?.

I believe all children are down to earth and they are good at learning some of the things in life, some times, in the most basic ways. They just need to be given the opportunity.