Is it just me or are people afraid of human interaction nowadays? It’s almost as if people go around with an invisible shell that protects them from the outside world.
There was once a time where it was considered rude if you didn’t make an effort to get to know your next door neighbors. Now it’s hardly novel for people to admit that they have never once uttered a word to those living next door.
Today I visited my local supermarket. I make a point of avoiding the self service checkout and go to a regular register instead. I feel bad that machines are taking the place of people and make sure I support the check-out personnel, even if it involves a longer wait. This afternoon I noticed that the regular aisles were empty but the self-service area was banked up. I can understand that people use the self-service machines for convenience, but it seems they also like it because it gives them yet another opportunity to avoid human interaction.
I remember in my early days of teaching, I was having a general discussion with my Grade 3 students. They were talking about the size of their homes. One pointed out that she has 2 homes because her parents are divorced. Her friends were in shock.
“I didn’t know your parents were divorced” one of the said. “So are mine.”
“Mine are too” said another
“So are mine” said another.
Now I know that children are reluctant to freely open up about such things, but it surprised me that classmates would take 3-5 years of being around each other on a daily basis before finding that out.
There is often reports in the media of a religion or culture that claims to be misunderstood or isolated, and you can understand why. There just isn’t enough effort on the part of society to leave the cocoon and start interacting with others. Especially those who are seemingly different from them. It’s just like in the brilliant Academy Award winning movie, Crash – people only deal with others when they literally crash into them. And of course by then, the interaction is never going to be healthy.
You would think that the schoolyard is the best place to address this issue. After all, schools don’t play favourites, they don’t seek to isolate and they try to encourage positive social interactions.
Or, maybe not ….
Some of the playground rules I have covered over the past few years do anything but that which I have just expressed. Take the school which has banned its students from having best friends. That’s right, banning best friends! In other words, to teach children not to exclude the school steps in and excludes for them.
And then there are the schools following this insane trend of outlawing touching. This includes not just hugging and holding hands but also high-fiving. Just crazy!
So the very institution that can set a strong and purposeful platform for inclusion, unity and human interaction is actually, at least in some cases, preaching the opposite. They would rather see each child on their own instead of in friendship groups embracing one another.
I feel like we are missing an extraordinarily important opportunity. I see it as vital that we help our students to break the shackles and help them to want to connect with others in a meaningful way.
Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans
Click on the link to read Rules that Restrict the Teacher and Enslave the Student
Click on the link to read This is What I Think of the No Hugging Rule at Schools
Click on the link to read Political Correctness at School
Click on the link to read What Are We Doing to Our Kids?
Click on the link to read Stop Banning Our Kids From Being Kids