We all (well maybe mostly my friends and I…) like to lament about how kids these days are all spoilt, IT-savvy brats, born with an iPhone/iPad/some technological device in their hands. (Random note: Perhaps the phrase “born with a silver spoon in his mouth” ought to be updated!) And how kids these days are very protected, go outdoors cannot sit on grass, must spray a LOT of insect repellent, cannot get dirty or anyhow touch things etc etc. (Yeah, the sentence is filled with colloquial Singlish) Also anyway in the first place, kids rarely go out, usually spend their time watching tv or playing with their devices or something along those lines.
In fewer words, it gives us very little hope for the future (though presumably, the older generations think the same of mine). But I guess we always like to tend to the dramatic side, exaggerating events and trends and making it seem as though all is doom and gloom.
I was conducting an Interdisciplinary Trail (Mostly Bio/conservation and a smattering of Math, really) in the Zoo today for some Primary 3 (9 years old) kids from a Primary School. P3 kids are really noisy, short-attention-span creatures. I am really quite amazed sometimes, by the amount of growing up we do from when we were 7 years old to the time we’re 17 years old. So most of the kids were the usual, typical ones, though having a phone, especially an iPhone, wasn’t typical in my time.
Yet despite the miserable picture we (or rather, I), like to paint of our future, working in the Zoo does give me some hope. Cos the kids that love animals will naturally gravitate to the Zoo, and hopefully that’s when we can encourage it and broaden their minds, to think beyond just animals, and realise that the habitat, the interconnectedness with other (maybe less cute) animals and Man’s actions are also very important. There were a number of kids (boys mainly, for some reason or other) who were really knowledgeable about their animal facts and how to help conserve them! When I asked how they knew all these stuff (cos it’s definitely not taught in school!), I realised it came mostly from watching Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the like.
The only sad thing I see about this situation, is that these kids could be really interested in biodiversity and wildlife and everything, and when they’re in primary school it’s still all good and dandy. Parents still bring their primary school children to the Zoo, and most schools that come to the Zoo are also primary schools (or kindergartens). Yet once they’ve done their PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination, for the uninitiated) and enter secondary school, priorities in life change and suddenly all this interest takes a backseat to everything else. For most people anyway. Yet there is still so much they can learn, and should learn! It should be part of the core curriculum, along with Social Studies and Character Education and all that stuff. After all, it concerns Our Future, as a collective race. Surely that is enough to merit attention?
So anyway, I guess staying indoors and watching TV is not always a bad thing. Everything in moderation.