Do I wish Google was around when I was a kid? Probably.
Would it have helped me countless times in my life? You betcha.
That being said, the search engine is getting on my nerves. Or maybe my 5-year-old is actually the one driving me up a wall.
And it all got me thinking….
Emma is an inquisitive little girl.
I mean, she’s very inquisitive. I can’t blame her – considering who her parents are.
Don’t get me wrong, I love her thirst for information. I love that her little mind never stops wanting to know more. If knowledge is power, this kid is on the right track to being incredibly powerful. Maybe.
Still, she’s five.
This goes way, way, way beyond the inquiring mind of a youngster asking “why” after everything. Ella, my 2-year-old, does that adnauseam.
It’s also, in my opinion, more than a natural curiosity. With Emma, no stone is left unturned in her quest to know more than there is to know. She thinks outside of every box. She wants deep, well-thought out answers to her questions. And even then, it’s not enough.
And – if I’m being honest, there is nothing more humbling than not having the answer to a question a five-year-old might ask.
Recently, as we sat on the deck, a few bees came up and began to nag us.
She had a million questions about bees. Seems simple right? I mean they’re bees. Everyone knows about bees. No?
Here are some questions – take a stab at them.
- Why is the Queen Bee so lazy that she never does anything? (okay, that’s easy enough right… she’s the leader .. she has a job, to lead)
- Why does the bee die after it stings you? (Sure, i can dance around this one – it can’t get the singer back out and loses part of itself so it dies) BUT WHY? WHAT PARTS? Hm. (After checking with google, turns out the abdomen, digestive track, muscles, and nerves)
- How exactly does a bee pollinate?
You get my point.
And my husband said to me, “Don’t worry, she will learn all of this stuff in school.” Which of course had me asking – “didn’t I learn all of this stuff?”
Anyway, yesterday – out of the blue (although we did attend a memorial service last weekend as a family) she asked, “How far is Heaven?”
Wow. Okay, “It’s very far.”
Emma: “Past the sun and stars?”
Emma: “How far past?”
Me: “Very far.”
Emma: “Mom, that’s not an answer. Can you look it up, please? Google it.”
Me: “Em, that’s not something you can Google – the only way to know where Heaven is – you have to pass away and go there. And if you pass away and go there, you can’t really tell people how far it is, right?”
Emma: “Someone at Google knows, mommy.”
Me: “Scott… ”
I started thinking about this. Thinking is good. Which is really the point.
Here’s what’s happening.
Google might come in handy a bunch – but, I can’t help but wonder if it is actually hurting our kids. (Hold off on the WHAT?? emails for a sec)
My questing is this: Is simply “Googling” something enough? Is it leaving our kids lazy? Shouldn’t we go to the library to learn why bees are bees?
Our children inhabit an age where googling questions is commonplace – but what is that actually doing for them? Sure, it’s instant gratification… getting an answer right away. Easy.
But, if you really think about it – learning and regurgitating information is pretty much the opposite of thinking.
If I’m being honest – it seems – and correct me if I’m wrong – that everyone seems to have an opinion on something but few people can actually effectively explain or defend their opinion without resorting to emotions. It’s how they feel… it’s just what they think… but no rational thought. No debate.
Ah, how I miss a good debate…
Is that a result of Googling…?
Yes, my daughter is inquisitive and I couldn’t love that more. But, as a mom, I know that allowing her to just get the answer – without doing the research that comes with it – is less rewarding and ultimately decreases her likelihood of really thinking things through – learning and using critical thinking skills that we NEED.
She’s five. So I’m not too worried about it yet, but I can see where things are headed.
I’m not bashing Google – obviously it can be a great resource. I’m just saying that perhaps it should be combined with good old fashioned research!!