Monday, January 07, 2008

Kindergartners crossing the road

I admit to weeding my bloglines account more frequently, and yes even rigidly, than I investigate and add new blogs to the list. Checking our library web page link to the Chronicle of Higher Education this afternoon, I noticed a new blog being advertised; Brainstorm: Lives of the Mind. Since I subscribe to The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, this seemed like another interesting resource to consider. The first post catching my attention was Crossing Over, by Gina Barreca, a professor of English at the University of Connecticut. Tempting me with the byte "Why did the college student cross the road?", I read further.

"I don’t want to be alarming, but college students face an unspoken and serious danger. Arising in equal parts from inexperience, self-absorption, and laziness, it imperils the next generation.

I hope by recognizing the situation, we can begin to alter it. On the UConn campus for example, even as I witness this hazard, I am left wondering what I can do to make a difference.

What worries me?

The fact that our students don’t know how to cross the damn street."

I admit to inappropriate library laughter at this point (thank heavens there was no one here at the time) because not only do I see the same thing on a daily basis, I have alternately been both student and driver in this instance. Students definitely appear oblivious to their surroundings while talking on their cells, chatting to their friends, and wandering aimlessly with their tunes. (I am often reminded at the warnings given when the Sony Walkman was first popular, my parents were sure I would be deaf before thirty - I'm not). The road directly in front of the library is a main traffic thoroughfair ending at a stoplight and harboring a posted speed of 25mph that no one obeys. Technology has become both a convenience and a distraction.

Barreca's posting reminded me of Robert Fulghum's book,All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten and the following excerpt:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life--learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup --they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned the biggest word of all -- LOOK.

© Robert Fulghum, 1990.

This is something I will definitely make time to remember as I am crossing a busy Philadelphia street while trudging along to the tunes in my MP3 player on the way to the conference center later this week at ALA Midwinter.

At least I'll try.

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