Friday, December 11, 2009

Robert Frost was smart....

I'm reading a biography of Robert Frost that was lent to me by a friend. I've never been taken by his poetry in the way I am with other poets (Stephen Dobyns for example) but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in this American wordsmith.

In reading the first chapters I have come to a conclusion: people growing up in the educational system in the late 1800s and early 1900s were smarter than kids growing up now.

Sure it's a bold statement, but I really believe it to be true and here's why: there was no technology to waste their time. Sure, we're technologically savvy today. We know how to blog, facebook, twit, post videos on YouTube, tivo, and text. All of these distractions are getting in our way of being able to reason and think for ourselves.

Think about it...back in the day the only books around were what we call "classics" today. It was expensive to print books and there weren't as many. Heck -- you can pay a meager fee to publish your OWN book today! Kids back then read Homer and learned how to understand it! Parents read to their kids for entertainment. They didn't read Dr. Seuss, they read serious books! Books I probably can't understand now as a 30-something.

Don't get me wrong. I like technology. But I wonder if all these laptops in the classroom and fancy schmancy calculators are really doing us a whole lot of good if we can't read a paragraph or a chapter and talk about it thoughtfully?


No comments: