So the pace of technological change is now denying humankind its traditional modes of transportation? No. Instead we have new generations who not only can’t throw and catch, they don’t have to learn or remember anything either. Thanks to personal web devices, they can outsource a myriad of tasks that were embraced, even celebrated by their ancestors.
Mental arithmetic. Spelling. How to get to Aunty Colleen’s place. Mum and Dad’s phone number. Even trivia questions, like Harry S Truman’s middle name. All now accessed through a cellphone rather than stashed away in one’s head. Cheating at pub quiz nights has never been easier.
So what do kids learn at school these days? Presumably they learn how to operate electronic gadgets under the guise of “computer studies”. Once they’re allowed to take these devices into exams, then perfect scores should become the norm. Humanity will have achieved the zenith of intellectual evolution.
Now that human intellectual prowess has been sorted, children now can focus their attentions on becoming elite athletes. Unlimited interchange and rest and recovery sessions mean that numbers of current All Blacks, for example, have octupled since when I was a lad. On current growth projections the Super 15 competition will soon be the Super 27, and so it goes. The potential for elite athletes to make a living from sport has never been better.
All good then, apart from a disturbing reality that sports mad kids who used to entertain themselves for hours after school with bats and balls, playing games of their own invention, are an endangered species. Kids who can’t run, kick, throw, catch and hit things are becoming the norm rather than the exception they once were. Things must be getting bad when the government starts investing millions of dollars to get kids off their arses and interested in participating in physical endeavour.
I’m pleased that they are. A growth industry is springing up. Community groups are taking responsibility for putting the fun back into sport and recreation activities for kids. They’re even letting kids have a say about what goes on. Organised, codified sports are being back burnered and the authorities responsible for them are buying into these new code agnostic endeavours and their focus on fundamental skills, player ownership, and fun.
And it’s not just about games-based fun. Activity-based interaction and fun is also on the move. Kids learning how to build pedal-carts, tree huts and dam streams, or whatever. The organisers’ only concerns being about participant safety.
Kids are just great at organising things, when given the opportunity. Indeed they should be charged with running the country. I remember when we were kids, we’d make up our own games based on the space we had available, gear on hand and the skills and expertise of those who turned up. The rules of Bullrush, for example, can be easily adapted so that a kid with a broken leg and crutches can be fully involved. It appears that this innovation has become a bit lost in New Zealand’s recent social changes. The good news is that that has been spotted by some enterprising enthusiasts keen to create an environment that restores it. Top stuff!
I wish the same levels of thought and endeavour were being applied to rekindle a passion for knowledge and learning. It is this passion that not only makes humanity what it is, but also contributes to better decision making. Let’s not underestimate the power of that fact remembered in the right place at the right time. Harry S Truman’s middle initial isn’t short for anything. His middle name was S. Americans...
Travelling to hell in a handcart or to heaven in a wheelbarrow have been fundamental, arguably essential, forms of human transportation since at least 1714 AD. It appears that future generations of cart-pushers are being taken care of, which is great news, as I had started to get a bit worried how my cart was going to be pushed when my time was due.