Thursday, May 4

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

In a recent survey by National Geographic, 48% of people between the ages of 18-24 surveyed couldn't locate the state of Mississippi on a map. One third of those surveyed couldn't identify Louisiana. Days after reading this, I'm still shocked. Even being smacked by a hurricane hasn't made the rest of the country aware of the South. The article goes on to outline plans to improve education in geography, but I'm not sure that's going to help. In my church's after school tutoring program I've been working with a 6th grader. One day we took a break from the times tables and played with a puzzle map of the United States. It had the different regions in colored blocks, and I thought it would be too easy for someone her age, but she had some trouble with it. I guess I shouldn't be, but I was surprised at how much she didn't know, and even more at how little she cared. As we moved on to labeling a blank map of the U.S., I uncomfortably realized how many states I was unsure of. I get confused in the Midwest, where everything is rectangular, and in the Northeast, where everything is so small and close together.

Although better education is necessary, the root of this problem of ignorance is that we just don't care. Most of us don't see the need to learn about things that (we think) don't concern us. Even as a I sat down to write this post, I had a hard time thinking of anything except myself, which brings to mind questions about the nature of blogs. It's easy to see how the worst become little shrines to self, the same way we tend to skip right to the supplication part of praying and forget the adoration, confession and thanksgiving. Ben and Caleb have been mulling over this some, and it's something I'm still thinking about. Meanwhile, I try not to begin posts with "Today I..."


Brad said...

Happy Birthday Caroline!

I always wanted to go on Carmen Sandiego. I always thought I would do so much better than the kids on there. However, I'm sure geography is much hard upside down.

SarahJoSteffens said...

Happy Birthday Caroline!!

t-plus however many hours it's been since midnight.p.s. i have more confetti if you want it ;-)

caleb said...

Happy Birthday C!

Sara P said...

So I guess it's your birthday, if I have my days straight. Have a very happy one, my friend!! To reinforce your insight into geographical ineptness (word?), before I left mom asked a cingular lady if they had service in Ethiopia. She replied, 'You know, I'm not sure. Let's look' and she pulled out a map . . . of the USA!!!

beth_hailey said...

Happy Birthday Caroline! i woke up thinking, "today is caroline's birthday and tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo." Have a fun weekend. :)