For those of you involved in Children’s Services… especially if you’ve been involved over a period of say… at least three years… I wanted to start a discussion about how children have changed, more specifically their attention spans. I’m finding it harder and harder to gain their attention for stories. The second you sing, dance, puppet, move around, play the guitar, etc., they’re engaged, but books aren’t grabbing them the way they used to, it seems. Just curious to know if anyone else is having this experience or has made this observation. ”
From a post on ALA Think Tank’s FB page (I tried to find the link—it’s only a few week’s old—but holy shit people post a ton in that group.)
Ah yes, the old “kids these days” game. Adults have been playing that game since time immemorial. In addition to blaming kids, the comments in the post also blame the parents and, of course, society. Do you know who they don’t blame? It shouldn’t be hard to guess if one understands the extreme ressentiment of librarians. That’s right: themselves! Not a single person had the guts to say: “If children don’t like the books we read, maybe it’s because we’re shitty storytellers.” But, hey, that would require some seriously incisive self-knowledge. Much easier to avoid the hard work of changing ourselves by blaming something that lies outside our area of control.
By the way, the only other correct response to such an inane post would be this: Because we ignore those “passionate things” (see Sendak quote in sidebar) in favor of cultural things and educational things, it’s no wonder kids are bored out of their gourds with the books we read to them. We would be bored too, if our favorite artforms were designed merely to teach or reflect ourselves back at us.
I hate hate hate it when people start the ‘in our day’ routine.