Kids do need to be tech savvy but they also need to play outside! As with anything in life, we need limits and moderation. I am sure there are folks way smarter than me that can indicate the pluses and minuses on both sides of this, but for my kids, I try to keep it in the balance.
Although I agree with Josh about trying to help our kids find balance in their lives, especially when they are young and need to try different things and be exposed to different aspects of life, the word “balance” keeps coming up in conversations and posts that I have had in the last little while.
I am not really taking a side one way or the other, but what does “balance” really mean? We talk about it as adults often, but when I have asked adults if they feel they are “balanced” I am hard pressed to find one that says they are. Usually, there is something that they feel is lacking or out of whack in their lives (ie. diet, exercise, want to spend more time with family).
So, doing an Internet search using the term, “when does something become an addiction”, I found this article on one person’s love for photography:
My camera is an extension of me. I feel restless if one or two days go by without shooting. Is it always a good thing? No… The rest of my family has little interest in photography. They support me in their own way but they don’t share my passion for it and I don’t expect them to.
The interesting thing is that as you read the article, it has her work embedded throughout and it is absolutely stunning (to me anyway). You absolutely know that this is what her work looks like after probably taking pictures for years and years. It then pushes me to think of Malcolm Gladwell’s work in Outliers, where he talks about the “10,ooo hours rule”.
Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.(Wikipedia article)
So we have on one hand, talking about a lack of balance, but then books like Outliers suggesting that to be successful, an inordinate amount of time should be spent on honing our craft if we want to be successful. I am guessing that Michael Jordan would have been considered out of balance as well yet he is also known as probably one of the greatest athletes of all time. Do you think that he loved what he did?
As we talk about “personalizing” education, the “balance” that some may have thought was once created (with art and music being not as important as language arts or math –> ugh) is now being put into question. If a student loves something that they are doing and is happy, while also having the opportunity to become successful, what does this “balance” really mean?
Full disclosure on this topic…I have been known to feel “out of balance” as well and obviously love the work that I do and spend much more time then I really would need to. I love what I do, so why would I not do it more? This is not just in my case, but many other educators I know are extremely dedicated to the work that they do and are happy doing it.
Maybe asking about “balance” is not the right question. Maybe we start with, “Are you happy?”, and follow up with, “Are those you are committed to and around happy?” There are always areas in our life that we could improve, but in the end, isn’t the happiness of ourselves and those around us more important?
By no means would I say that I am an expert in this area, nor do I think this post will give anyone any answers; if anything it hopefully might spark more questions. I just think that since we use the term often in school, with our students and with each other, we should explore what it really means.