Friday, November 25, 2005

Order: teach it or it won't be learned

"It is best to do things systematically, since we are only human, and disorder is our worst enemy."
- Hesiod

Disorder causes us to use more of our most precious commodity in life, our time. It requires more time to sort through a mess to find something than it does to find the same thing that is always returned to the same place after it has been used or moved.

This makes sense.

Like everything else that we consider to be "common sense," the concept of order as a time-saving device must be taught to children. It must be taught to young children before they get into the habit of being careless about where they leave their belongings.

Many teens have bedrooms that resemble trash dumps. Some of them can find whatever they need as soon as they need it. Their system of order is different from that of most adults. Different, not necessarily wrong.

Others can't find anything in the chaos.

Most teens reorganize their concept of order so that it is in line with that of most adults as they get older. This is simply because their system of order can't be managed by other adults. It's easier to follow the normal pattern of order of the adult world than to be rejected by the rest of society. This is part of the process of socialization.

Everything we want our children to know and be able to do as adults must be taught to them when they are still children. And it should be taught much earlier than most parents realize, before kids get into bad habits.

There is no such thing as a child being "too young" to be taught something. Nor is there any such thing as a child being "too young to understand." The only problem would be in the minds of parents who can't or don't teach important things properly.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put relevant content into the order that parents teach their children.
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