Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen has another excellent Road Diary post today. At Kent State University, Ohio, he walks down a grassy slope looking back at the spot where, almost forty years ago, the National Guard stood in line to confront student war protesters. And then the fatal 13 seconds that left four students dead.
Those Guardsmen and the students they confronted were close in age, not far beyond childhood. And Mullen asks: “Where are the adults? Why weren’t adults standing where I am standing now?”
Perhaps for those who lived through those turbulent times the questions seems naive. In any event, that interdiction did not happen.
“A generation of young people was left to settle a nation’s conflicted soul on the soil of a Midwest college campus. The village elders and faculty arrived after the killings, and did a good job preventing more bloodshed. But they arrived too late….”
Where are the adults? On Friday a NY Times Room for Debate presented a similar question: Wired Kids, Negligent Parents? And while much of the eye-rolling commentary that followed brought King Canute to mind, the question remains: Where are the grown-ups? While there is nothing wrong with either, computers are not just for entertainment delivery and gaming. The potential is for empowerment, independence, community and creativity not mere consumption,
When it comes to the digital revolution, our children need guidance, example and sometimes intervention. They don’t have a choice about whether to get involved with digital technology. Unless they opt to be hermits living completely off the grid it is their world. This is a new frontier and adults and children are together at the threshold. It’s not about prohibition and control but rather example and leadership. We have at our disposal incomparable tools for learning – collaboration, change, creation and communication.
What are we doing with that unparalleled opportunity? And that challenge?
Is it time for the generational abdication to end? No more natives and immigrants? Maybe the divide is less generational than aptitude for learning. Can it now be about possibility, innovation and change (for the better)? – learning what we can do with what is now available to all of us. Can we do it together?
Where are the adults? What should we be doing and how should we behave?