Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where is your Moustache?

Some of my first memories as a child were about my parents getting me ready for bed. Something about the routine makes it very clear in my mind. I remember the ongoing battle between parent and child. The battle of wits I thought I might win. It goes without saying that each night ended with me going to bed on time, but I did find a way to delay the process.

The answer was milk.

How could a parent say no? A prison guard never rejects the prisoner’s final wish. Think about it. Milk is the ultimate source of what is good for kids. Each night I would pour my self a frothy glass of milk before bed and soak up at least ten minutes of conversation from the rents.

Somewhere between my early childhood and present day I lost my appetite for milk. Legend has it that the day I started going to bed at 10 p.m. I stopped requesting my last drink. But, wasn’t my body missing out on milk’s ability to build muscle, maintain the bones and teeth, or help keep eyes and skin healthy? I don’t really know.

I grew up like anybody else I suppose. No serious medical conditions to date. But, could things have been different? Should I have ever stopped drinking milk?

I was sitting in my language arts class the other day when the teacher posed our class a question and asked us to take five minutes to answer it. The goal of the activity was to write the first thing that came to our heads.

The question read, “What does it mean to be fully literate in the 21st Century?”:

There is no end goal where you can stop and say, “Now I am fully literate”. Literacy is always evolving and someone who is truly literate understands that being fully literate is an ongoing and never ending process. There isn’t a day where we wouldn’t benefit from literacy.

Upon completion of a formal education some people believe that they are as literate as they will ever be. The truth is, the quest for being literate often begins when you have completed your education. Being literate is knowing that you must now take on this challenge of literacy without the help of classmates, teachers, and counselors. It is your job to develop an understanding of the literate world around you.

What I am starting to realize is that reading and learning is a lot like drinking milk. The benefits of one on the mind and the other on the body appear to be extremely beneficial, but many of us choose to not partake in both.

I thought that once I had shed the chains of an early bedtime that I would no longer need milk. Much like how my teacher fears that people feel like they won't need literacy after graduation.

I have decided to dive right back into milk (figuratively). I am going to try and drink at least a glass a day. While I can’t force any of you to do the same (and probably most of you for lactose reasons) I can ask you to do one thing. Keep learning. Watch the news, read the paper, get a magazine, loose yourself in a fiction, or find the truth in non-fiction. The choice is yours and there are many options to choose from.

And I don’t want to hear about your fictos intolerance.


Riccardo Lo Monaco said...

LOL well said at the end with your non-fictos intolerance comment. I agree... especially about recognizing the need for a pursuit of literacy, which is constantly evolving and with such speed and differentiation that we must actually put effort into keeping up with it. I have been pestering my 12 year old sister to spend less time on the computer and chatting on msn, and MORE time reading good ol' novels. At her age, I would read 400-page novels... FOR FUN.... I show her these books now and she yelps.... yet she spends 4 hours a night reading text boxes on her computer screen. Conversations that generally don't amount to anything. Where is the future of knowledge headed if the new generation has SOOO much of it accessible to them ALL the time, to the point that they don't ever bother to learn how to interpret it. I better stop before I turn this comment into a blog entry of its own. But you're right Sean... this is important stuff... and especially for us as future teachers. We have a challenge ahead of us like no teaching force has ever experienced... :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sean,
Another great post. The world of literacy is ever changing. It is not the same as when we were children and it certainly isn't the same as when our parents were children. If we as adults are to embrace and teach literacy today we must be visionaries. It isn't enough to only react, Sir Kenneth Robinson reminds us that the school system is usually 5 years to late when implimenting new ways of learning. We weren't afraid to take chances and risks to get where we are today, we shouldn't be afraid to embrace non-traditional forms of literacy and knowledge.