Just now, I logged on to Facebook and saw a post on The Guardian shared by Wardina Safiyyah Official Page. I was intrigued by the title of the post : Neil Gaiman : Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming Since I love going to what most people call boring places : libraries and museums, I love to read fictions and I love to daydream and imagine living in the fiction world, I thoroughly read the post and found these words at the end of the post :
"Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. "If you want your children to be intelligent," he said, "read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand. "
Upon reading those words, I read the words written by Wardina Safiyyah as caption to the post she shared :
"If you love your children please, PLEASE limit the ipad and gadgets. It changes their brain connections.... it doesn't help speech development...motor development... reading ability...I can list many more negative effects. There's no rush. Menyedihkan melihat ketagihan ipad... overseas there are already centres to help children who are addicted. It is and will be a serious problem the future. wallahualam."
Malaysians widely know Wardina Safiyyah as an exemplary mother who nurtured her children to read a lot and teach them on Islamic based values. After reading her caption and the post by Neil Gaiman, I couldn't agree more that parents nowadays are taking the easy way to educate their children. They let the children play games on Ipad and computers because there are claims that the games can develop the children's brain. They let their small children watch TV the whole day just because there are tutor TV and so on that could help them in their studies. They prefer letting the technologies do the 'educating tasks' that should have been theirs.
I am not yet a mother but I have seen many children with bad behaviours. Children are supposed to be playful and naughty a bit. But these playfulness are different with bad behaviours. There are researches done and proven how technologies that are exposed too early can influence the children to behave badly. In the early ages, the children's brain are like sponges. They 'absorb', process and remember what they see, hear and feel. It is important to nurture the children carefully in the early ages. Nurture their love and passion to reading in the early 10 years of life and InsyaAllah, after that, they will love to read, unforcefuly.
The importance of reading may seem to be petty and trivial and some parents might feel that it is probably too early to teach their children how to read at the age of three or four. Most parents would think the age six would be most appropriate to teach the children since most children starts their schooling years at the age of six. WRONG ! It is never too early to teach children to read. I once read my father's journal. It was a journal he made to monitor his children's developments. Since I am the first child, mine was the most complete and the most detailed. (He noted my ages when I started grow my first teeth,my first step,my first word, my first time knowing alphabets, my first time reading, my first time gong to school, etc). I was taught to read by my parents (who are teachers) as soon as I started to utter words and at the age of five, I could read Malay story books smoothly without having my parents to help me pronouncing the words,I could read English storybooks, open up dictionaries to look for words I don't understand and scribble the meaning of the words on the book.
Most people would say, "Yes, of course. Your parents are both teachers. For sure they know how to teach their children." Well, yes. But, in my opinion, all parents are their children's first teachers. To teach them how to eat, how to tie their shoes, how to read, how to pray, how to recite the Qur'an. It is the parent's job and responsibility to teach and educate the children. Just because there are teachers, the parents cannot simply abandon their responsibility to teach the children and solely let the teachers do the teaching part.
Reading is the door to imagining and imagination is the door to take you to places and inventing great things. If Thomas Edison never imagined the 'bulb' that can create light in the night, we might still living in darkness every night. TV, ipad, computer and video games restrict the children's imagination. Instead, the words narrated in fictions, with correct punctuation, use of words and narration, the children will be able to use their imagination and create their own imaginative world, see and feel things. Even the first word Allah delivered to human is 'IQRA' which means 'read'. Islam has acknowledge the importance of reading but still, many finds it boring and tiring.
So please, let the children read, instead of giving them ipads. Bring the children to libraries instead of going to malls. Without love to reading, the children presumably be less literate and less numerate than we are. They will be less able to navigate the world and to understand it to solve problems.
"Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told." -Neil Gaiman