Tuesday, February 5, 2008

America: Culture of Confusion

Questions below...
I am worried about the culture of the United States. I am worried about what we deem as important in our country. It seems as though we say what we want everyone to hear when it comes to morals and ideology. We say one thing, but practice something completely different. It upsets me when I see a parent pick up their child in an H2 Hummer, when their child is on a free or reduced lunch program. It worries me when parents pay a child for their good grades on a report card. This is projected upon our children.
I do not want to make a blanket statement. I am not claiming that these are the actions of everyone in our Western Culture, but it is a reocurring theme.
Children are sponges that soak up everything that comes their way, whether its an innocent puddle of water or a toxic puddle of antifreeze. We are a culture of "look at me, look what I have". I hear this coming from the mouths of 4th and 5th graders every day. Most of them are more worried about being accepted and wearing clothes that are fashionable, then actually learning.
Having a conversation with a class of 5th graders today, we got off on a tangent, talking about life. This happens sometimes in my Science class. I asked them a few questions about their lives.

1. Why are you in school?
2. What do you enjoy about school?
3. What do you not enjoy about school?
4. What do you enjoy doing at home?
5. What career do you plan to have in the future?

You could imagine the answers I heard from 5th graders. This sums it up...To learn, recess, work, watching t.v., rapper, basketball player, on television.
It would be interesting to go to another country and ask students these same questions. I don't know the answers that we would hear, but I would imagine it would depend on the Country.
The fact is that these are all learned responses. I'd imagine that these answers would have been completely different if I was to ask them one on one. The students are more worried about impressing their classmates then giving a truthful answer. It's a circle. It goes back to the Hummer. What are we teaching our kids? What ideals are important to the adults in this Western Culture?

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