Our kids are being taught now in amazing schools and have constant access to information on the internet. They read countless books, research, share ideas online, and are pushed harder by parents and educators than we ever were. However, they are not any smarter than us. Why not? I should have already known why, I taught high school several years for Christ’s sake. I guess I could never put my finger on it until now. As my son and I debated over politics the other day, I finally figured it out. Kids act like they listen to you but in all reality, they truly lack the ability to actually listen.
Things moved slower when the Baby Boomers and their kids were growing up, even though it didn’t seem like that to us. However, compared to kids today, we had plenty of time to take in information and process it. Why is it important to process it? It’s not just about being a sponge. It’s about that higher level of intelligence. You know the poster you see sometimes in psychologist’s and educator’s offices covering Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning? A teacher’s goal is to strive to create lessons to hit all six of those domains listed, especially the very top domain, Creating. Now, I’m not going to bore you with each category and all kinds of other education jargon. What I will tell you is that if you are a parent, your kids are probably struggling with one of the foundation pieces, Analyzing.
We all know that to analyze information, we have to separate it into parts and organize it first. It takes a little time. Kids aren’t doing that. They are in a rush and don’t want to take the time. But why? What has them so busy? Not many of them work on farms anymore. Why are they too busy to take in what they hear and correctly analyze it? The answer lies in the old adage, everything in moderation. Our kids are being bombarded with so many issues now that they jump from one thing to another without fully understanding it. Also, think about the kids that are so sensitive that they take in bits and pieces of social/environmental issues and freak out! They shut down before you, as their parent, can explain that the information or data they came across online or wherever wasn’t taking into account other theories, statitics, etc… Then if or when you finally get your thoughts in, your child moves on to another problem without fully analyzing what you told them. Some kids are left with anxiety over a bunch of bull, and they’re going out into the world already emotionally crippled.
What’s the solution? The solution is to know there is a problem and address it. The next time you are talking to your child, remind them that it is time for them to stop talking and to listen to you, the adult. You, the one that cares about them. You, the one that has years of wisdom on them and even most of the people your child comes in contact with online. If they still don’t follow what you’re saying, put it in simpler terms- To listen is to pay attention with not just your ears, but your mind and heart. When they finally learn to stop long enough to really listen to other people, not just with people they agree with either, they will grow smarter. In the end, it will also teach them how to show respect to the person talking. People love to share knowledge if they feel like they are really being listened to.
With all that being said, I am proud of my son for gathering information and debating his opinions. Who wouldn’t be? But I want more for my kids. I want them to always stay open-minded and in order to that, they must know how to properly listen.