Monday, July 14, 2008
I loved elementary school when it was time for Geography. The teacher would pull a wide window shade sized page down and I can still hear the sound it would make. Those big maps hanging above the blackboard contained the mysteries of the continents for me. Where mountain ranges began and ended, the plains states, the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Great Lakes, where the Mississippi reaches the Gulf of Mexico, which states touched the Pacific, the Atlantic, I memorized these locals and more. At the beginning of the year when text books were passed out I would flip through the Geography book looking for interesting information. In short, this was a topic I enjoyed.
My grammar school didn't have much of a library. It was just a small room with books and magazines. I don't remember a single book from that library...maybe it was because I always went straight for the National Geographic magazines. Oh how I loved that magazine. When my boys were old enough to read I subscribed to NG for them. They never appreciated it as much as me. I read it from cover to cover and never threw away an issue. (I still have a row of them out in the garage) My desk draw contains no less than 35 maps, taken from the pages of those magazines. Maps of the universe, charting the stars in the heavens, a map of the Indians of the Southwest, maps of Europe and Asia and a map of a Soviet Union that doesn't exist anymore.
As an adult I have been surprised to find out how many people don't care about geography, couldn't locate Papua, New Guinea or even New Zealand on a map if they were paid to do it, don't have a working idea of each state's approximate location and don't think being able to read a map is a vital life skill. I think it is sad.
I think it is sad that children today are taught more about recycling than about the world they are told they need to save.....but that is another hobby horse and it is late and I don't have time to ride that one.
Just my opinion, what's yours?