The Daily Post has thrown a challenge to do something completely different this time. The writing challenges have actually already helped me to move out of my comfort zone several times. I wrote short fiction once, when I usually write non-fiction. I wrote poetry in my last challenge when i hardly even read it and I attempted to write on politics in a previous challenge. So, this time, I ‘m writing an open letter.
Dear Generation Z,
As a parent and teacher of generation Z , I constantly worried about your casual attitude towards education, the kind of values learnt and future college and career prospects. I specially worried when
- You whiled away your time on gadgets and websites that were so painstakingly created by people of my generation (Gen X) for ‘useful’ purposes.
- You did not bother to acquire knowledge the way we used to, hours poring over books, as you believed all information was at the tip of the fingertips.
- You considered books and newspapers as antique ephemera.
- You answered ‘Nothing’ when asked what you did in school today.
- The only words you read were 140 characters long or the incoherent ones in instant messages on itouch.
But yesterday, my gloomy prognostications were proved wrong. Yesterday, I had the honor of being on the jury panel in my son’s school to assess the students’ presentation as an indicator of academic progress.
I saw a bunch of lanky 6th graders trying to hide their nervousness under a cloak of insouciance. As they presented their work in front of the jury, I realized that not only had they read books,but in fact several of them, with powerful, thought-provoking content. Books such as George’s secret key to the Universe, A Hundred Dresses and Samir Ek and Samir Do that dealt with issues of differences and discrimination . How certain children are ridiculed because they are different from the rest or conversely even though two children are very different, they can still be friends.
By integrating these readings along with other activities, each student then presented their big idea or take- home message, each one a unique, distinct, and powerful idea. Such as ‘The law of nature is order and regularity’, “Difference doesn’t matter in friendship”, ‘Unity in Diversity’, “It is important to have harmony within us”.
Important and insightful messages.
In this era of globalization, when the world has apparently shrunk, yet differences seem much wider and are rarely tolerated, I think it’s wonderful that these students are already thinking about these issues and reflecting on them. Hopefully, they will incorporate these ideas into their own lives when they are ready to step into the world and make their own decisions.
I believe that education, apart from teaching you how to read, write and do math, should help you to think, reflect , believe in yourselves, be tolerant of other cultures and make right decisions . We can then look forward to a bright future where we can have more inspiring children like Malala ,who slowly bring about change one step at a time.
Keep up the good work!
A proud parent.