Todays question comes from Saul P. from Paris Texas.
“Dear Great Zamboni, I am concerned that with our over-connected culture, my children will be multi-tasking over achievers capable of keeping many windows open at once but unable to follow one thread of knowledge to where it ends. Is my worry legit?”
Dear Saul, this is a good question. Strangely enough, only one or two scientists have been studying the effects that all this online-all-the-time living has on us. And the findings are inconclusive. Luckily for you, and the others, Zamboni has truth to reveal.
Recently I was at a small lecture about Economics and the Third World. While the grad students sat around a table, half of them had laptiops open and were doing many things while “listening” to each other. The person I was behind, I could see them check their facebook page, a blog, and some sports scores all in two minutes, as well as the past papers and biography of the very guest who was lecturing to them at the other end of the table. I also had a friend, a shepherd named Le Quark, who used to happily while away hours of grass-munching time for his sheep while he texted , until one day he walked off a cliff. There are pluses and minuses to all this technology.
But the answer to your question is Yes, you should be worried, but after you worry, here is what you should do.
Lead by example. Don’t tell your children to read more while you get fat watching TV on couch.
Make decision. Give your house a “24 hour online sabbath”. At house of Zamboni, I cover the ancient blueberry imac the size of a turkey with a sheepskin from 10am sat to 10am sunday. No miniclip, facebook, Pandora, nothing. Encouraging boredom, reflection, and then also we go outside and throw hammers at the old Roman ruin in the backyard. This is athletic and satisfying. We also cover television, but not in football season.
So Saul, remember that the only thing we have of value is time. And also remember that your children’ s brains are changing every day, and what they do with their time, this is what builds their brain.
And seriously, what is so good about this multi-tasking? Did George Washington or Abe Lincoln or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. need this? No, they needed single minded years long laser focus on one goal. Take heed.
Are we breaking up, we have bars? you getting this signal? good. Now disconnect.