13 May 2009

3 Commandments of TV


I was thinking about the classical education method, and how it's such a lot of work. I read this line: "There is work, pleasure, and joy in classical learning, but there is no slack-jawed staring at a box, demanding to be entertained. The name we may properly give to an education without prerequisites, perplexity and exposition is entertainment" From a great book called Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education (whew! a mouthful... only .92 on Amazon!!), I give to you the "three commandments of television:

1. Thou shalt have no prerequisites. Every program, every video must stand on its own.

2. Thou shalt induce no perplexity. This means that there must be nothing that has to be remembered, studied, applied or, worst of all, endured.

3. Thou shalt avoid exposition like the ten plagues visited upon Egypt. Education programs will always wind up in a theatrical context... always take the form of story-telling, conducted through dynamic images and supported by music."

I try to cut back the kid's tv time. I sometimes think that if it isn't ridiculous kid junk, blinking cartoons etc... then I'm doing ok. But then I am reminded by a book like this that by letting them watch 'educational' tv, I'm letting the tv do all the work for them. The material is presented to them step by step in such a way that they just listen to it... there is no work at all, and that is a way to train them that things can and should be easy. Which is untrue. *A lie.* I don't want them to think that everything will be served to them on a platter. So I make them work. And I listen to them cry, and I tell them to adjust their attitudes, and I mercilessly hand them a tissue, and then I make them copy the sentence again.

For all of you out there with kids about 10-12 and older, bookmark (not 'go check out') this website about doing hard things and becoming an adult instead of prolonging childhood. It is written by the twin younger brothers of our pastor, Josh Harris, from our church in Maryland. EXCELLENT RESOURCE. I plan on making it a daily reading time for my kids when they are older. It's at http://www.therebelution.com/. You may have heard of their book, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.

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