America’s Youth

>Yesterday, my brother and I were communicating through e-mail at work and were having a rather ardent conversation, that at times became quite rabid, that began on the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Washington D.C. law regarding personal gun control. The topic of discussion switched when chase mentioned that a real concern of his is the ignorance of many youth of America. Since the introduction of word processors, computers, and calculators, it is easy for today’s young student to become incredibly lazy and still make it through high school and even college.

While I will admit that I am no different from anyone else in taking full advantage of all of these resources that technology has brought us, I often yearn for a trip back in time when it was no so easy to write a report on the works of William Shakespeare as to simply search the internet for a few biographies written about him and then copy, paste, and type of few words of my own on to my Word document, which will help correct any spelling or grammatical error I have made with out making me actually learn what I have done wrong, and submitting it for a grade. My senior year of high school I wrote a 6-7 page paper I believe on the ancient philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas and give a 10 minute speech on my paper. I had one book written by Sir Thomas that I used for research, I took his three main theological principals and vaguely discussed them, and the rest of the resources were internet based articles on his life that I used to complete the assignment. While I found him very interesting and still do, I could not recall much from that paper I believe because I did not truly have to search for the information, I merely took others work and put it in my own words without putting it in my brain.

I think the actual effort of looking up resources and reading them rather than blindly searching for keywords and putting them on paper can greatly increase the knowledge one retains when writing these sort of research papers. I read in the newspaper about a year ago of a boy who graduated from a Kentucky high school without the ability to read. How does this happen? Has education and society become so that it is politically incorrect to criticize and teach someone who can’t read at the age of 18 after 13 years of schooling? I could not let this stand. Are we afraid to step on people toes about these things? It is not rude or incorrect, but rather helpful and beneficial to make sure that children actually perform well to get to the next level in their education.

I feel that the internet and television are wonderful and great inventions but that society has turned to them to act as a daycare for their children when they don’t feel like dealing with them. Channels such as the Discovery Channel, TLC, the Travel Channel, National Geographic, A&E, and many more channels do have quality, educational programs on that are worth watching. I am not saying that all other channels and shows are not. there is nothing wrong with unwinding after a day of work by sitting down and watching an episode of Seinfeld or Friends, but when our children are constantly glue to the television for hours a day and surf the internet for a few more hours, this is not healthy. On my bookshelf I have perhaps over 100 books ranging from classic William Shakespeare to Japanese cult classic books such as Battle Royale. Bram Stoker, Dumas, Homer, Dickens, Melville, Stevenson, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle share the shelves with Neil Gaiman, George Orwell, Will Lavender, Patrick O’Brian, Stephen King, and Tom Clancy. I have not read every book on my shelf and read the goofy, sci-fi Neil Gaiman books probably more than the Charles Dickens, I enjoy sitting down and watching an episode of two of Frasier and Family Guy, sitting down and playing Grand Theft Auto IV or watching Star Wars, I am no different than anybody else, but I think that reading greatly enhances the mind and its capabilities. Whether you sit down to read “Hamlet” or such a goofy read as Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” whether it is for 5 minutes or 50 minutes, non-fiction or fiction, the stimulation of the mind by reading is a wonderful thing. It helps cultivate the minds vocabulary, writing skills, comprehension, and logic skills just by a little bit of reading.

Don’t rely on the internet to entertain you along with hours of television, spend quality time with your family and friends. take a few minutes out of your day to pick up a book, educational magazine, newspaper, anything like this and read a bit of it, you are never to old to stop learning. For those of you with kids, remember, a child watches your every move. If you watch hours of T.V. they will want to as well, if they see you reading for just a little bit here and there, they will want to also and it can greatly cultivate their young, intelligent minds.

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