My sister, my mom and my aunt are all elementary school level educators, so I like teasing them with questions like these during Christmas diner. All I got was blank stares.
I happily pointed out that blackboards are rapidly being replaced by Smartboards in schools all over the country. Kids take their presentations to school in the form of a powerpoint file saved on USB sticks these days.
That must have struck a nerve with my aunt:“If we’re not careful, kids will end up staring at computer screens all day instead of reading real books!”
She nearly got me there because I like books. I like the way they feel, the way they smell and the way they look standing neatly shoulder to shoulder on a bookshelf. Most of all books are brain-food. Many of us grew up with the idea that owning many books is a sign of a proper education (much like reading the right kind of newspapers.)
A dangerous idea has been entrenched itself in our minds: our kids need books. To insist kids need books isn’t just elitist, it’s potentially destructive. Just like clay tablets, papyrus and leather-bound calligraphy before them books are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. As we speak books are being replaced by laptops and e-readers.
Still many well intending parents and educators are spending a lot of energy preparing kids to live in a world of books – a world that no longer exists. These kids are doomed. Bibliophiles are wreaking havoc on a generation.
Shouldn’t we commit all our energy preparing our kids to thrive and compete in tomorrow’s world instead?