The Lost Virtue?
May 23, 2012
Not too long ago a customer came into our store looking for model cars. We're talking good old-fashioned "meticulously-paint-and-glue-together-a-zillion-tiny-pieces" kind of models - like you could have bought almost any place your mom and dad dragged you back in the '70's. Any dime store in town had a whole shelf full of muscle cars, antiques, stock cars...you name it. We lamented for a bit about the fact that something that was such an integral part of our childhood has largely disappeard, and had the obligatory conversation about "the old days". That's pretty much required after you hit 40...I have to remind my kids often about how I remember when we got our first microwave, or that the "remote" for the cable was attached to the TV with a wire...
Anyway, after ruminating on it for ahwhile, what bothered me more than the fact that models have fallen out of favor is the reason why. I believe it's a generational trend towards a lack of patience. I'll bet there's a really cool app available where you can build and customize a "model" car on your phone or tablet...and you can probably build ten variations in five minutes (and probably get bored in six). Technology is great, but it's taught many of our young people that instant gratification is the only kind. They've been robbed (through no fault of their own) of the satisfaction of getting that package in the mail that you ordered off the back of the comic book and patienty waited 4-6 weeks for delivery to receive, or leafing through the World Book Encyclopedia to find an answer to a burning question, or scrawling out a book report with paper and pencil, or building a sweet model '57 Chevy over the course of several evenings. And frankly, I think the kind of patience it takes to do these things is an awfully important life skill that I'd like my kids to have.
I don't know the answer, but I know this. Every once in awhile, I'm going to make my kids do things "the old fashioned way". I might even unplug the microwave when I get home...
Schools Out…Have Fun Learning!
May 16, 2012
As another school year draws to a close, I'm reminded of a question we hear often in our stores.
"How do I keep my child learning over the summer?"
The answer is simpler than you think. In fact, I can answer in one word. Play. That's really all there is to it. The younger your child is, the more learning is inherent in their typical patterns of play. Want to teach some basic physics? Stack some blocks as high as you can, or go fly a kite. Math skills? Play Monopoly and have your child be the banker. Reading? Pick up some conversation cards like Chat Pack and take turns asking the questions. Economics? Lemonade stand. Earth science? Catch some bugs...
Get the idea? Learning over the summer is as easy as finding something fun to do. Fun makes learning serendipitous - and that's when the best learning takes place.
Enjoy your summer!