Why the stories about traffic you might wonder? They were what flitted through my mind as I read this article: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/we-are-creating-walmarts-of-higher-education/282619/ entitled WE ARE CREATING WAL MARTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION. There is a tendency in higher ed to push kids through faster. Quite a few years ago, the state demanded we cut hours from the degree requirements for teacher education (and come to think of it all the while complaining about the quality of teachers). Gone were classes in literature for children and young adults. Gone were other mainstay classes. All in the name of graduating them faster. Faster is not always better, folks. The old adage about stopping to smell the roses is there for a reason, right? Why are we in such a hurry?
Put another way: why are we always preparing kids for what comes NEXT (college and career, anyone?) instead of preparing them for what is happening NOW? I saw a blog post the other day insisting we teach kids how to file tax returns. While I think financial literacy is a fine thing for kids to know before they are handling their own finances (how can I be out of money when I still have checks?), I do think there are some things that can wait. We are pushing them to read ABOVE their grade levels, to move from picture books to longer and more complex texts. I mean kindergarten ready? Really? Benchmarking in elementary school?
When will we be content to allow children to linger in childhood? Sometimes it is just wonderful to slow down, to un-hunch the shoulders, to lie down on that nap mat, to be silly. At the office this week, my colleagues and I had our silly turns. We began playing the hashtag game a la Timberlake/Fallon. It made the meeting so much more fun, and how often can you say that about a meeting. So, stop. Take a break. Read a book (even if it is NOT at the right level/lexile). Slow down. Smell the roses. Sip the coffee, Enjoy the time.
And happy birthday to my sister, Jo Ann today. I love that we can slow down for one another and be silly, too. Love you.