Instant Education

We've created a generation that has stopped thinking.

Comments (44)

(44) Lara, July 9, 2010 4:45 AM

Education should be entertaining

An adults attention span is 15 minutes. Something needs to happen even as small as the professor walking across the front of the room or handing out papers. One can't listen forever and absorb. Good teachers are entertaining. They bring students in with prior knowledge. The educate and engage them with information and then students get to try it out with active learning. Learning should be fun and entertaining. I completely remember my teachers who had a sense of humor and I remember what he taught me. I hope my students will look back and feel the same about me.

(43) Eliu, June 14, 2010 10:48 PM

Our times

Most people has stopped thinking because maybe they think technology, bring us answers, and a fast way to do things. You push a bottom in microwave, push in TV sets, PC's, refrigerator, car, radio, etc. But spiritual thinks, family, real education doesn't work that way. Always God ask for us to stop and think about our ways.

(42) Neta, June 6, 2010 4:08 AM

Limit them

You have to tell them when it's enough, when they just have to stop already. Unplug the cable, cancel their texting, ask them about the Parsha or how they did in school, discuss with them at dinner the news. Ask for their opinion, what they Think.

(41) Anonymous, June 5, 2010 9:27 PM

Put them in a survival camp

Take them out of school for one thing. They learn all their bad habits from their teachers and classmates. Let them unwind, then homeschool them, if you can. Spend quality time with your family together. Go to a survival camp. Not to a FUN WORLD!! Give them responsibilities, especially at home. Do not reward them for doing chores. Assign each child a task to do for the family - laundry, dishes, garbage, sweep the floor / vacuum. Attend shul, give the boys responsibilites at shul, give them a chance to lead other kids in davening. Girls, help your family with housework. Help your siblings with homework. Do community chesed. Adopt a family in need. Get rid of TV, videos, cell phones, iphones, and other interesting gadgets. Thanks for listening!

(40) Anonymous, June 4, 2010 7:32 PM

How to Think

You're absolutely right! I substitute teach in two private schools, and there is a dearth of thinking in one, and in the other, their motto is "Where thinking is critical...teaching kids how to think, not what to think." Keep spreading your wonderful message...We do need to unplug some of the instant media, which is mistaken for true communication!

(39) chana, June 4, 2010 12:52 PM

go to nature places and watch animals and use imagination

talk to g-d like a friend. pretend they're texting g-d. use music to go higher to g-d. make up own lyrics pretending they are like their favorite star or just a singer of zion which they all are.

(38) Anonymous, June 4, 2010 6:00 AM

challenge them.

I really firnly believe that the way to get students to think is by asking them penetrating questions that would leave them wondering. I always press my students with questions such as -- "I know you keep shabbos, but WHY, what does it MEAN to you?" and the same about davening and about other mitzvos. Some children take their yiddishkeit a little but for granted, almost mechanically and without thought -- and that does not fulfill the goal of living a meaningful life. Lori, you present a very legitimate problem which I've been thinking about a lot as a teacher. I hope that other teachers will hear the call as well.

(37) Anonymous, June 4, 2010 4:05 AM

beautiful creations, but still need down time to think

In response to what Richard Seigel, I agree that the children are beautiful and more tech savy, but they still need downtime to learn to think. Baruch Hashem, There is a lot of technology that has helped so many people that we don't know how we could have lived without years ago. But on the other hand there are kids (and adults) that spend half their waking time in front of a screen! They need constant stimulation from an outside source. They do not know how to creatively entertain themselves. THIS IS BAD! I am very close to a great person who says that kids just need time to stare at the clouds, to become creative, do craft projects, participate in sports, read! Yes they need to keep up with the outside world with technology, but that they will do anyways-it's hard not to with school putting so much emphasis on technology. Spending a majority of their day staring at a screen is not healthy for their body- may lead to them eating without realizing it (->obesity), and it also leads to them not being able to sit quietly and just think and let their minds wander, which in the past is how inventions were first created- you need time to think of ideas! (I didn't even start on the idea that technology makes people agitated- especially when it freezes for 10 seconds- what is wrong with a person having a little patience? No one is expected to constantly, rapidly do anything.) I believe that traffic (and possibly technology) was put in this world to teach us patience. When driving- one is in big trouble if he doesn't have patience- monetarily and hopefully not physically, not to mention that it could take even longer if stopped by a cop or getting into an accident! Ok I went off on a tangent, but basically there are benefits to technology, but it should not rule the house, OR THE PERSON.

(36) SusanE, June 3, 2010 5:48 PM

Lori's Correct...It isn't the Kid's Fault

I agree with Lisa's comment at # 30..... Thanks Lori for the advice and the word unplulg.

(35) phyllis, June 2, 2010 8:33 PM

the whole human race is rapidly changing

The technological revolution is rapidly affecting us and our kids: a whole new human being is evolving right before our eyes. It is scary because we are part of it. Only time will tell which aspects are 'positive' and which 'negative'. Kids' brains are actually physically changing...they process information very quickly. Everyone, including us, is developing A.D.D.We are seeing only the beginning of the new future human being, who will be very different from has to think deeply because superficial chatting and entertainment is always available to save us from the pain of introspection and the fear of facing the big questions about the meaning of life.Professors are giving classes in social interaction because corporations are complaining that the new whiz kids don't know how to 'interface' with their fellow emloyees. Shabbat in this age is especially crucial....all the gadgets have to be turned off ,people, of all ages, have to slow down, talk face to face with others, and hopefully engage in thought-provoking discussions.

(34) Mark Douglas Obenour, June 2, 2010 7:43 PM

(Martian Voice) They have been absorbed..............

My kids had a harsh upbringing. During the summer...I quit paying the cable...I unplugged the video game console...They had to actually GO OUT AND PLAY...they had to go sports with their friends. Then with the newer generation came the radiotelephones and the texting. I solved that problem putting them on PREPAY the OLD FASHIONED WAY we paid telephone bills IN ADVANCE. There were no contracts and $300 to $700 in overtime charges due to the kids wanting downloads of their favorite songs and unlimited texting and all the EXTRAS. My wife and I have our last kid graduated and on their own at the end of week. They have had a hard life...Not everything was handed to them on a silver platter in todays instant society. Pull the plug once in a while...otherwise...(martian voice takes over) They will be absorbed!!!

(33) esther, June 2, 2010 3:36 PM

Make them read!

(32) Anonymous, June 2, 2010 1:59 PM

The home is the first school and should be valued by educators and establishment, not disrespected and dissolved.

Society at large is responsible for just that..society at large. The home has a nurturing and tangible interest in the responsibility of raising a child. Why is the society dictating the home? Rather than fixing the flaws of some with methods of common sense, society inflicts its broad hand into the individual at the home. I'm a homeschool mom of four. Three of which went onto college. The youngest is still being home taught. I started to hs when my daughter was in 7th grade, son in 4th grade, daughter in Kindergarten. That was 14 years ago when noone I knew homeschooled their children. Most would send to private schools. The public school experience that my kids had showed me the lack of thinking that was being accepted as education. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially when the "sponge" years of grade school are filled with anti-basic curriculum. When handwriting, spelling and math drilling went " out of style ", that is when I pressed the issue. Logic, language, "old fashioned" curriculum gave us the most powerful and informed leaders of civilization. Duty to the home environment and keeping it strong should be society at large's priority...not running the home and pc-ing everything in sight. No wonder the dumbing down of America has come to roost. Thinking needs a comeback desperately.

(31) Richard Seigel, June 2, 2010 5:53 AM

Missed it this time Lori.

I"m crazy about your comments, never miss them and enjoy most and am touched by some. I am sorry to say that you missed the mark this time. Parents have been complaning about kids for as long as time, "this new generation, there this, there that, there not what we were. Bla, bla bla" Kids nowadays are beautiful creations of Hashem and a little smarter and a lot more teck savy than we were. There are the children of our ansesters and will welcome the days of Mosheich.Bs"H

(30) anon, June 2, 2010 5:20 AM

this is such a cool idea..

i tried to ask kids what makes them want ot build a relationship with an adult that is much older than them.. to my surprise they said bec she cares abt me! when you show a child that you care about what they have to say they will respond to you in a more real way and they will be interested in whatver you are telling sharing with them! so my sugg. is when your child or freind is sharing something with you then just try to focus and listen with your heart! if you stop texting for one minm cuz someone is talking to you, you make them feel cared for and then you can work with them!!! Lori you have the coolest ideas ever!! i love reading your stuff you are the inspiration to the world!! we cant thank you enough!!!

(29) Lisa, June 2, 2010 1:20 AM

We haven't created a generation of kids who don't think. We've become a generation of parents who don't communicate. We're so busy running and doing that we've forgotten about simply being. If your parents never ask you what you think, then listen to the answer with their full attention and full acceptance, why would any child feel that their ability to think and form conclusions is important to their parents. They text their friends because they know their friends care what they think. Kids today watch TV or text or play on the computer because their parents aren't talking to them or giving them a model of how and why to think. Let's create a world where we criticize our kids less and give them more reasons to engage those amazing brains by honing our listening skills!!!

(28) ruth housman, June 1, 2010 11:45 PM

the ink in think

It's true, this generation is speeding and they don't have to be on drugs, on "speed" to do this, because it is instant everything, and yes, we get used to this, and we get impatient, even us adults, when the computer stalls, and we pace by the microwave. In a way, it's comic, how we are so used to fast everything. Certainly the speed of communication is vastly different, and we are all of us so easily able to reach people far away, almost instantly. So the world seems to be imploding in on itself. With all this, are we getting any wiser? Some would say, the ability to get information by going to the internet, is increasing our knowledge base. Others would say children especially get lazy, as it's all handed to them, and they don't have to think about it, just regurgitate it. There has to be some middle ground here, and I think we all should strive to use what we're gifted, in ways that do make us think. It's here. So what do we do with our ability to travel faster and faster? I think it's very sad that some children are not even learning to write any more. I saw a teenager at the Post Office who could not sign for a package, and the postman had to do this and then let her copy her name, letter by letter, and she was not handicapped. It was the handicap of not being schooled and this is endemic when it comes to handwriting itself. So Yes, Laurie, there IS a problem. And there is also at the same time a widening, a total widening of our horizons. Like all advances, do we advance with it, to learn how to use this wisely, or is it a major draw back?

(27) Anonymous, June 1, 2010 8:03 PM

But the teachers made teaching entertainment after the 70's too

I've been in these classes for the past 25 years. After the 60's influence, any drill was thrown out. They have wasted these kids times, given them calculators in kindergarten, expected them to read naturally with whole language, given them group project after group project in the name of creativity even though making tooth pick bridges and log cabins out of popsicle sticks is more summer camp stuff than critical thought. Your average elementary teacher doesn't know where China is on a map or math past the middle of fractions. In ed school they are taught that child-constructed naturally learning is best. Children haven't even sat apart from others in their own space in two decades. I wish every adult could sit in these classes and watch the wasted time like I have. They imagine that school is still like what it was when they went and when they hear about new innovations, they have no idea how ineffective most of the song and dance is. Curriculum like Saxon math, Direct Instruction, Sinapore Math, Abecedarian project have shown that we can educate even the poorest of children, but that research and thus that teaching has been ignored by the educational establishment still lost in the 60's. I was once there too, so I understand the impulse. The job of educators is far more difficult than it was 40 years ago. But I guarantee if we were teaching those children back then as we are now (or rather not teaching them), we would see the same lack of thinking. Thinking requires discipline and practice and even drill at times to form the underlying basis for ideas. Don't expect to find that in a typical Midwestern public school.

(26) Anonymous, June 1, 2010 7:15 PM

every childs different.

im a kid myself infact today is my 17th bday. i just want to say that every kid is different. mabey this will be a help for some parents but iv got learning disabilities, so of all people who space out and are considered the first to stop thinking and listening its always been said to be me. just to let you all know, i hear every word said when you think im not listening and iv never stoped thinking. when it comes to learning im not always ready to show whats going on inside but i am listening, even if i look like im texting, more than half the time im not and nor are my friends. kids nowadays especialy from slitly shaken homes are looking through extreamly sencitive eyes at the world around then and notice every difference in an adults responce. most of the kids who are texting in your classes are just looking to be noticed, becouse nowadays no one gets noticed in class and servives social coments by being good in class, they do it this way. most of the time they all just want to listen especialy if they're in the older groups but social presure keeps them down. so all in all, it realy depends on the kid and their selfconfidence, one of the many problems of todays generation.

(25) David, June 1, 2010 6:19 PM


Sure, text messaging and high speed Internet and instant gratification and cell phones create problems, but to suggest that they are at the root of a dumbing down of the next generation is nonsense. I was part of the first generation to grow up with TV, and my parents thought that I didn't read enough (until they thought that I started reading too much). How much thinking gets done when kids are out playing (or watching) baseball or soccer or gymnastics? How much thinking happens when a teacher stands in front of a class and presents a bunch of boring facts? Yeah, lack of thought is a problem that plagues the new generation, but it is also a problem that has plagued EVERY generation. Some people get through it and learn to think. Other people will never think regardless of how much you encourage them. Don't blame technology. Blame human nature. Blame poor teachers. Blame parents who don't challenge their kids with perplexing and controversial issues. Blame frameworks claiming to provide all of the answers. Kids who think because it is their nature will think regardless of the obstacles. Kids who might think will start if they are challenged and encouraged. Kids who can't think never will regardless of what is done for them. Get over it. It's a non-issue.

(24) David, June 1, 2010 5:39 PM

It's worse than you think

I know an eleven year old from a broken family who has ADD and spends most of his free time playing video games. Putting aside the content of these sometimes very violen and graphict games, the worse part of it is that he's living in a virtual world. As a result he functions very poorly in the real world; he hates school, is not the least bit athletic nor can rise a bike, and has no friends.

(23) Mom, June 1, 2010 4:57 PM

I know kids who can think

It's all a matter of engaging the kids. My grandsons are eager to come to my house because we do science "experiments" and other fun learning. They also like to cook, draw and act out "plays." As normal boys, you can find them on the soccer field and riding bikes and a razor.

(22) Guillermo, June 1, 2010 4:55 PM

The Zombie Generation

Lori is absolutely right. Modern kids are not stupid; they just cannot connect the dots because they simply have not learned, nor have been taught, critical thinking skills. I experienced this first-hand while teaching at college level in Indiana and Virginia. My colleagues spent hours thinking up "entertainment" strategies (a favourite academic term) -- one professor of French would prance into class scattering M&M's to wildly waving students, a professor of Spanish would have "Fun Fridays" during which anything Spanish was a distinctly minor part of the "fun." And this was supposedly "higher" education. About 30 to 40 percent of my students at a southern university not far from Richmond had to attend remedial courses on campus. Or should have, as they were woefully unprepared in the basics of critical thinking, grammar, rhetoric, composition, geography and history. One could go on. Nice enough kids, whizzes at electronic devices, dummies otherwise. I estimate that good, focused students amounted to an average 40% of all my classes. It is interesting to note that those of us educated in traditional methods largely lacking electronic devices are infintely better educated than the average student of today. They are sadly amusing, perhaps, yet are a damning indictment of contemporary educational philosophy and practices. I do not hate these kids we have created. I feel very sorry for them, and for us. We absolutely must create new and positive paradigms of thought. Otherwise, God help us all!

(21) Dina Moskowitz, June 1, 2010 4:46 PM

For "Anonymous" #6

One good look at what you wrote in your message, tells me all the many things that wrong with texting. So many spelling and grammar mistakes, I don't even know where to start. Honey, learn to read and write - REALLY write - and learn to spell! You're not going to do that by texting1

(20) Julie Waldman, June 1, 2010 4:44 PM

Just say no

I think we are took ready to give up boundaries today. Kids need to hear no, that some things aren't allowed. No TV. Videos (that I choose) only twice a week for an hour. Other stimulation including sports (judo, swimming, soccer) and intellectual (math and parsha after school) helps develops their minds - yes sports helps them develop if THEY are playing. The key is to give developmental stimulation.

(19) Anonymous, June 1, 2010 4:22 PM

thinking goes both ways

lack of thinking is often found in yeshiva's too. I have seen way too many people who don't feel it's right to question what they learn. I'm not advocating rebellion of Torah, rather they should know they are different opinions (alu alu divrei alokeim). They also ask their Rebbe questions such as "who to marry", "who to vote for" without relying on what "they" think or feel. I know many young bochur who are told to marry a rich girl, and sadly both parties will be lacking in a emotional and loving relationship. In summary, the problem is not so much technology but an unhealthy balance in our lives.

(18) Adina Soclof, June 1, 2010 3:05 PM


Thank G-d for Shabbos is all I can say. At least everyone unplugs then. It is so peaceful.

(17) Anonymous, June 1, 2010 7:00 AM

Thank God we do have some kids that have a brain

It takes a village to raise a kid? It takes cell phones to raise a kid? It takes computers to raise a kid? It takes a t.v. to raise a kid? What about it takes parents to raise a kid. If people don't want to raise children, don't have them. Nothing is wrong with t.v. cell phones and computers etc etc. However when now the complaint is we have brainless kids; who are the parents going to dump their kids on next to try to "fix them?" It becomes society's problem? Or the teacher's problem, or the bosses problem? That's the problem, if your kid is brainless it's the parent's problem. If your kid can't hold down a job because they are texting on the clock, going to the bathroom to talk on the cell phone, it's the parents problem, they will live with you forever, unless you dump your kids off on the government. Which obviously many have. There are kids out there that are not brainless, they are responsible, they are intelligent, they are self motivators, they follow the law and the rules. And those kids do use the latest technology, the parents taught them self discipline and to use the blessings of the world WISELY. So let's not say ALL kids don't know how to think, or who need entertainment 24/7. The ones that do, just need some discipline. If you leave that up to the teachers, your kid may be kicked out of school. If you leave it up to their boss, they may fire them.

(16) Dr. Ovadyah Avraham, June 1, 2010 3:11 AM

Whatever happened to the teaching methods of our fathers?

My mother hears constantly a compliment from an amaze peer "How did you manage to raise such a son?" My single mother raised me in the 1980s [in USSR]...and this is how she did it...We had a TV and she noticed I was paying more attention to TV than my schoolwork, it was a sacrifice for her yet she sold it. She never bought me any game that did not develop my mind, my uncles did, but she knew better. She read a book with me every single night and accustomed me to read books at a very eaarly age. She would forego her pleasures of illing with friends and would rather sit with me and do multiplication/division excersises and otherwise do something productive. She taught me aphorisms which taught me life, she used to talk to me like an adult, she would take me to work with her and at work I would get to meet people...but her main strength was discipline of herself and me! When my mother said "no" it was a "no"...she was fair, loving, and nice...but strict. Years later, I see my peers and young adults around me and I praise Hashem for giving me such a mother!!! She strove to create a mature, healthy, responsible, independent, considerate individual...and she succeded. She was my role model!!! Parents you have to know...and I am not one yet...but I are your children's role models. There is an aphorism..."fish stinks from the head" are the head!!! If you stink [forgive me] so will your children. I wish I could say more...and there is so much...but the old fashioned the ONLY way!!! It has worked for our Sages for over 3300 years...why do we have to change? [And yes, like any parent, she made mistakes...but she endowed me with the capability and mental strength me to correct them! As the old addage goes "give a man a fish and you fill feed him for a day...teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime" or something like that!!!]

(15) Miriam, May 31, 2010 11:43 PM

The "thinking light switch"

From my personal experience as an elementary school teacher sub., there is a way to make children think - that's to communicate a vital message to them: that THEY MATTER , THEY COUNT, THEY MAKE A CONTRIBUTION. After all, THEY ARE OUR COLLATERAL to Hashem for his Torah. That invariably catches their attention and "turns the lights on".

(14) Anonymous, May 31, 2010 8:05 PM

This is my every day life!!!!

I am saddened by this generations lack of attention. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles would sit and talk for hours upon hours, solving all of the worlds ill's. I cannot get my children or their friends to talk to me for over five minutes or to ignore the next text or what's on TV. There was never a TV on in my home until night and never at my grandparents home. I wish I had an answer to your question. I believe we must just teach them to talk, discuss and even debate. I think we must start from the ground up, make humans human to them. After all isn't that what separates the teachings of the Torah, from all others; the value of human life to not only any human by to G-d as well?

(13) , May 31, 2010 1:43 PM

I have found that my children would throw a lot of tantrums about TV. Even though I limited them to an hr a day, they would just go insane. I took away TV full stop. Just letting them watch for 1 hr on sunday and the change is drastic. They started playing together, imagination galor. Learning form each other. I read them books (a lot) let them listen to books on tape. as a teacher I see my students going from horrible to worse. You talk to them and they can't process simple comands. Why? Because, they were taught that it's ok not to. Dora the Explorer tells you get up and dance and you don't have to. If they don't have to listen to her (fun charachtor) why should they listen to the teacher (not so fun)

(12) Alan S., May 31, 2010 11:03 AM

Has the use of technology stopped our thinking?

Every generation feels their youth has stopped thinking, using the new technology of the day to claim that it has caused their brains to go dead. When radio came out, I am sure that their were people that felt that it only served to lower their children's IQs. Same with TV. I'll bet it was the same with the quill and paper. My point is, why bash the technology? It is my belief that your question really has to do with the proper use of technology. This includes such questions as etiquette. Why weren't the students told to make sure that their smart phones were turned off before you began speaking? Many of the ruder people in the word wish that they could have occupied themself during that boring speech from a principal or teacher many years ago. While I do believe that sometimes there is an issue of technology keeping us from fully using our minds, why re-invent the wheel? If the technology can help a person count the change at the local McDonalds better than that person could by using their heads -- whether that person has the ability to do the simple math required or not -- why bash the technology? Obviously for brevity's sake, my comment cannot encapsulate everything that could be said on this subject, but one must separate the good and bad that the technology brings, from what a person (or with a parent's encouragment) should be desirous to do, and that is, using their heads.

(11) Lisa, May 31, 2010 10:13 AM

quality time and read to them

there are various issues at work in terms of creating 'instant education" and while not getting into most of them, it vital for parents to spend quality time with their children from the time they are little, listen to them, talk with them in a manner in which they will listen, and read to them. read them stories that they enjoy. and if at all possible, don't use the tv or computer as an electronic baby sitter.

(10) Margaret, May 31, 2010 6:27 AM

It's not just technology that prevents the young from thinking

It's also the moral relativism that permeates, unfortunately, all levels of education now, but especially higher education, where I teach. The kids have been indoctrinated with the tenet of not to judge, but analysis is based on taking things apart and making positive and negative assessments. It is tragic that college kids these days can go through an expensive higher education and come out on the other end with little to no critical thinking skills. This is the unfortunate, perhaps tragic, result of misguided Liberalism, which is also the culprit for why everything must be entertaining.

(9) Anonymous, May 31, 2010 4:54 AM

Hey it's a good question! I just wish I had the answer. I've been noticing this for a while. My younger cousins can be sitting in the car for 10 minutes and announce that they're bored because they left their Ipods at home. And G-d forbid they go into a restaurant without their ipods. Not only is this rather anti-social, but it shows they need objects in order to be happy. They can't rely on their own thoughts to keep them occupied. So I hope someone comments below with a possible answer for what to do! :)

(8) Rebecca, May 31, 2010 1:42 AM

Great point about our overly high-tech kids!

First of all, parents can STOP buying their young children (I've heard of kids 7 or 8 with their own cell phones) all the latest expensive gadgets. If we grew up without texting (or as many kids are doing now, sexting,) every three minutes, our kids can too. It's our own fault for buying into this materialistic culture that says every kid needs an X box, DS, cell phone with camera and texting features, etc. No wonder they can't wait for anything anymore. We've trained them that way.

(7) Anonymous, May 30, 2010 10:27 PM

it gets sad to see that teenager, children, and sometimes even adults are so preoccupied and busy with all their texts and e-mails it trains them not to have to think (i.e. it gets sad 2 c dat tnagers, childrn and sum# even adlts r so preokupyd bizE w/ their txts e-mails it trains them not 2 hav 2 think

(6) eliezer hecht, May 30, 2010 8:14 PM

it even effects me and the kids in my class!!

I am 13 years old and i was watching this with my sister. now i realize that alot of kids dont even have a face to face conversation they text each other from one side of the table to another! many kids in my class spend most of their time on their ipad, iphones, computers etc. One kid in my class is in dream land and talks about all these singers and music and stuff all day and no one is interested in listening to him because he is so annoying and boring! i still wish i had an ipod and an iphone3gs!

(5) Anonymous, May 30, 2010 6:00 PM

Good point but

Can someone explain to me (a teenager) whats wrong with texting? personally i love texing my friends - whats wrong? Were not sayong anything bad, and we dont have it in school or when your talking with someone or a speach - thats rude - can anyone explain?

(4) Anonymous, May 30, 2010 5:49 PM

Our problems and failures will prompt us to think and reconsider - from experience

Lori - good message, it caught my attention. I've had similar concerns about contemporary culture and the erosion of critical, thorough thinking by young and old alike. How do those who long to influence society with the interest and capability for critical thinking compete with exciting, emotional but shallow entertainment and entertainment oriented education? What are the inherent goals, motivations and aspirations of human beings that can be appealed to for their betterment? Are there insights ancient and contemporary from Judaism that offer guidance on how to appeal and train people to attain their highest potential endowed by the Creator? Are there examples from the past or today of education that successfully competes with "popular" culture? Is separation from popular culture the only way to successfully counter it? Maybe emphasizing aspects lacking from popular culture that people generally value would be a place to start: positive, rewarding relationships with G-d and other people, supportive community, structure, discipline, certainty, moral vigor, challenging education, even pride in their national culture - ask Westerners who convert to Islam what has attracted them. I'd guess we're not the only ones exploring this issue. Success in discovering answers.

(3) Anonymous, May 30, 2010 4:33 PM

I agree 100%

You hit the nail on the head. This is one pathetic generation that is destroying itself. The only remedy I can think of is nearly impossible. Throw out the TV (Heaven Forbid! What will the dear little ones do; What will I do to keep them busy? What did they use to do? How about riding a bike, reading a book, playing baseball, building with blocks and lego? What happened to those activities everyone enjoyed so much as kids?), get rid of computer games, and install a filter for your internet (What does your kid need a computer for if not for school reports? What child needs email? Humanity has been blessed with a wonderful gift called speech. Sadly, it is seldom being used.) If children (and even adults; but lets not even go there) survived fifteen years ago without a cell phone, what is its purpose now? To look cool? To text to the person next to you? To play games (many of which are completely inappropriate)? And if you're really nervous, will it be the end of the word if you're child's phone doesn't have texting, games, or internet? What do these useless gadgets do? they are not only useless, they are counter-productive to the values everyone wants to inculcate in their precious children. There have been statistics showing that television creates poor attitudes toward drugs and violence among other things. It distorts a child's sense of reality. People have no attention span any more, not to mention obesity. Iternet is similar. Only the junk on there is appalling. With texting, spelling goes out the window. In fifty years from now, there will be no vowels in the dictionary. This problem is nothing compared to the fact that people don't communicate. An actual face - to - face conversation will soon be a rarity. If only we can make people aware of this. Technology is wonderful. There are countless benefits to this commodity. However, like everything in life, technology must be harnessed properly. We've got to know our limits! Wake up!

(2) Debra, May 30, 2010 3:38 PM

Getting children to think

As always, I feel real education begins in the home. Conversations at meal time, in the evening without the T.V. on, no surfing during " family times" would help. Parents are to blame as well. Put a kid in front of the T.V., Ipad or computer and you have a quiet although nonthinking child for a while. Not a good solution.

(1) Harry Pearle, May 30, 2010 2:16 PM

Learning // Takes // Time

Dear Lori, Thanks for posing this question. Learning does take time, a second, a day, a lifetime. The Jewish people had to wander in Bamidbar for 40 years to prepare themselves to enter the Land of Israel. Yes, the technology gives us the impression that learning can be instant, but time is required. Perhaps the challenge is to run it BACKWARDS and try to realize how long it takes to learn specific things and how much effort and luck is really required. Yes, we all have our EUREKA moments when we suddenly discover something new, but it takes time to reach these ah - ha moments. Take for example, your video itself. How long has it taken you to come to the conclusion that learning is not instant, Lori ? What led up to this video? Perhaps, you can write a book on this very subject! ! Hatzlacha See my blog on learning: Much thanks / Harry@Rochester NY


Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment

Receive Weekly Spirituality Emails

Sign up to our Spirituality Newsletter.

Our privacy policy