I grew up reading books. Even today, one of my favorite ways to pass the time is to read a new book. I am one of those who maintain that when a book is made into a movie, it is inferior nearly all the time. One of my most treasured possessions are a bookcase full of books inherited from my Grandfather. Many of them are over 100 years old. It’s like a window into the past whenever I open one.
When I go out in public, I see kids everywhere with tablets, game machines, or phones. They are using these to pass the time but I feel like those devices are stunting their imagination. When you read a book, it’s an active experience because your brain has to create the imagery for what you are reading. When you watch a movie, it’s all given to you. You just absorb it, but don’t really have to think about it. Now when you play a game it’s more active yes, so at least that has some value.
Here’s my ranking of ways to pass the time, from most useless to most valuable.
- Texting friends
- Watching TV/Movies
- Reading Books
- Talking to a someone in person
- Doing something in life for the first time
Here’s a quote from Seth Godin from a recent blog post about books which I liked.
THE BOOKSTORE as we know it is doomed, because many of these establishments are going to go from making a little bit of money every day to losing a little bit. And it’s hard to sustain daily losses for long, particularly when you’re poorly capitalized, can’t use the store as a loss leader and see no hope down the road.
The death of the bookstore is being caused by the migration to ebooks (it won’t take all books to become ‘e’, just enough to tip the scale) as well as the superior alternative of purchase and selection of books online. If the function of a bookstore is to stock every book and sell it to you quickly and cheaply, the store has failed.
You could apply these ideas to where I see learning going. Right now schools are like bookstores. They were the only place you could go and get ideas all in one place. Now there are starting to be alternatives. People are starting to leak out of the system. How many will have to leave before the economics become much less favorable to public education? I’m not sure but I do think we will find out.