Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. Today I talk about something that many don’t give a lot of thought to. We create the future so be careful what you do because our future rests with you! If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…!
The other day, I saw an article that got me thinking. It didn’t seem like much at first glance. It just showed a portion of an excerpt from a Government publication of a house sitting. Was it really what was said? Possibly, I couldn’t find it with a short search. I could have watched videos to ensure it was. It doesn’t actually matter if it was or an exaggeration of something that wasn’t. It wasn’t the best of the best Provincial interactions. The statement was a put down of the Government. The point I took away was that sometimes it is good to remember that anything that you put online is teaching something and maybe not what you intended. If you want to teach kids or anyone about politics, showing them the worst side is not a good beginning for any teaching endeavour. Remember anything that you share online, you are sharing a snap shot in time. However, this also gives a glimpse of our future. The first and most ethical place to start teaching someone is to show them the best before teaching them about the worst. The worst will be presented often. Teach them what it should be before tearing down what you don’t like about it. What you do now is being seen by others. Some of the others are younger. These are people for whom the future is open and the present gives them examples of what is normal, what is acceptable. Do we want a future full of misinformed people with poorly informed decisions? Do we want to show people that they can say anything they want with very little to no responsibility?
I know that no one is always 100% perfect, but there are a few things to take into account when releasing stuff on the net. First, is it true? Is this just opinion or is this fact. Is it accurate? Are you willing to back it up? Is it just sensationalism? Are you just hoping for likes and follows? Is it something that matters to you now or will it? Are you sharing it to try to improve a situations? If you are trying to make improvements, then state what it is that you hope to prove. If you are in a position of power and by this I mean politician, teacher, college worker, artist, writer, musician or anyone who has people following them can be an influence and teach others. Almost anyone and everyone who has public accounts can fill that niche and yes that includes you dear readers and listeners. Some tend to forget that they have a power to deliver a message and that they have the power to influence the future. If you are going to accept and make statements, then you must accept responsibility for those statements. This is also important lesson to social media.
In my opinion, one of the most important teaching quotes I could find was by John Ruskin, which states “Education…is a painful, continual, and difficult work to be done in kindness, by watching, by warning…by praise, but above all, by example.” This is perhaps the most important statement that exists about teaching. It is one thing to say ‘do what I say’, but if you do not follow up and do what you are saying, then you are just talking the talk and not walking the walk. If you are to be a true and genuine teacher and recognize the importance of shaping the minds of the future, you must both talk the talk and walk the walk. In other words, it is one thing to say, if I make a mistake, I apologise and correct it. It is quite another thing to show that you do apologise if you make a mistake and do your best to correct it. It is also another thing to provide proper information to correct said error. People are not perfect. People are not robots. But, this would be a much better lesson than to try to cover up a mistake. This is where a lot of people go wrong. It doesn’t mean that what you said wasn’t true to the best of your knowledge at the time. It doesn’t mean that it was right. It means that you recognize that you have made an error and admit it. It isn’t the end of the world, it isn’t the mark of death. Move on from the mistake. Don’t repeat it. Mistakes happen in all venues.
For the most part, teaching is geared toward children or thought to be. That does not mean that we cannot all learn. As Eric Micha’el Leventhal stated “Our children are only as brilliant as we allow them to be.” He doesn’t mention the even more important thing, which is that children learn so much from what they see. Everyone does. That makes what we say and do so much more important than we realize. Children are often far more flexible and capable of dealing with things than most adults expect. Children who are exposed to open minded discourse will be more likely to develop an open mind. Though, to be honest, I was of the ‘children should be seen and not heard’ cusp. I was often told that children should be seen and not heard as a child. So, this might have inspired me in my interest in observation. I watched a lot of what went on around me as a child. I learned a lot standing behind my mother’s chair at family visits. People often forgot I was there. I don’t regret it. I learned a lot of adult things. Interesting things. I learned to question things. I learned that often adults had a ton of information to share. Now, if adults could understand that, I wonder if they would change some of their discourse. People learn what they live. That is the most serious impact of teaching. It doesn’t start when someone starts school, it starts when a child first opens their eyes and starts interacting with the parents and family. Some say that it starts even before this. It starts in the womb. Whatever idea you ascribe to, people never stop learning. When you stop learning, you stop living.
Sometimes I think, as Jacques Barzun said, “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” I often see where teachers are blamed for a lot of issues. If they act, they were wrong, if they don’t act, they are wrong. What general public doesn’t seem to realize is that the teacher in the school is no longer the only teacher children or adults have. We now have multimedia, we have blogs and podcasts, we have YouTube, internet sites, and a whole host of things and not all of them are all good sources of valid information all the time. What we and society need to try to teach is that there are some things that are important and some things that aren’t. There is such a proliferation of media types and information that sometimes it is difficult to separate the fact from the fiction or the good from the bad. It isn’t getting better. There are no hard and fast guidelines. Kids are putting out selfies that would have made us blush when I was a kid. There seems far less limits on behaviours that are acceptable. We live in a time of so much media freedom, but there seems little responsibility. They will take down posts that are totally inaccurate and there are enough complaints, but then there are complaints and freedom of speech which has been given little in the way of guidelines either. At one time people understood freedom was the freedom to do the right thing. Now, people have an entitled idea of what freedom of speech means. Who is at fault for this? Now you aren’t going to like the answer I give. It is all our faults. We have allowed children and adults to think that they have the right to do whatever they want. There seems slim attempts to put limits on such entitlement. I think it is time that we think about teaching not only the rights that people have, but also that the rights have limits and that there are also responsibilities that go with these rights. Nothing in life is free. It is everyone’s job to make the media and the social media a place that is safe for everyone. To make the media and social media responsible for positive social change.
I do not say that it is all bad. It’s beautiful to see the amount of art and artwork, craftwork, music and talented people who are on social media. There is a lot beautiful out there. My main frustration is that a lot of things out there are really not thought out well. Things are presented and shared without thought. I am guilty of this myself. When I think I have crossed a line and find I have been mistaken or potentially could have harmful effects or not accurate, I correct the misinformation. I provide factual information. It is important that we all attempt to be the ones to create a better world both online and offline. I hope this will give you something to think about. Do you have things that you think need to be addressed in the media? Any thoughts? Do you have suggestions for future episodes? You can find me on Twitter and I’d love some suggestions! You can find me: https://twitter.com/EJS08026749
Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
The podcast to this blog post is available on Anchor FM: https://anchor.fm/a–j-pei-treasures/episodes/What-you-do-Today-Teaches-the-Future-e1f8ggd
What you do Today Teaches the Future! – E Jean Simpson, BEd, BA, MA Author A & J PEI Treasures
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