Should mom, dad take the blame for kids who can’t tie shoes, fill ice-cube trays?
Over at the NBC Today Web site, there is an article that asks the question: are we raising a generation of nincompoops? The article attacks a generation of youngsters that don’t know how to tie their shoes. The author blames this on shoes that come with Velcro fasteners instead of shoelaces. Next, it’s cited that the current generation doesn’t know how to remove ice cubes from an ice cube tray. The article goes on to state that:
Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter “literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else.”
Teenagers are so accustomed to either throwing their clothes on the floor or hanging them on hooks that Maushart says her “kids actually struggle with the mechanics of a clothes hanger.”
Many kids never learn to do ordinary household tasks. They have no chores. Take-out and drive-through meals have replaced home cooking. And busy families who can afford it often outsource house-cleaning and lawn care.
The issue hit home for me when a visiting 12-year-old took an ice-cube tray out of my freezer, then stared at it helplessly. Raised in a world where refrigerators have push-button ice-makers, he’d never had to get cubes out of a tray — in the same way that kids growing up with pull-tab cans don’t understand can openers.
Mark Bauerlein, author of the best-selling book “The Dumbest Generation,” which contends that cyberculture is turning young people into know-nothings, says “the absence of technology” confuses kids faced with simple mechanical tasks.
I believe that these assumption are flawed. I can see my grandfather telling my father he was a nincompoop for driving a car and not knowing how to ride a horse. Or that my dad’s generation was mechanically challenged because he was dependent on a refrigerator and didn’t have a clue how to put a block of ice into an icebox. I must have come from a dumb generation because I used a typewriter and had lost the skills of handwriting.
I am a youth leader at my local church and last Sunday my male student group of 9th through 11th graders took on a project to build a computer system. The computer, when completed, will be donated to one of our local food pantries. In 45 minutes these young people had the computer case ready to install the motherboard, the CPU, fan/heatsink, and the RAM. The time also included my instructing them on how to install the hardware as well as how the hardware functioned. The current generation is lacking mechanical skills? I think not!
What is your opinion? Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? I personally do not believe we are.