For most of us growing up, this idiom ensured we got full marks in the grammar section of the Language paper, and for some of us, we attempted to use many more like these in the composition section to impress the teacher with all that we were taught (ask any Queen Marian, and each one of us will vouch that we used these at every opportunity possible)! So when my twelve year said, “What a ghastly thought … killing two birds with one shot. Clearly animal activists were not as active then, else, this would be on social media and the whole world would be reacting!”
I must admit: This is the first time I considered the ‘literal’ interpretation of the statement for as a student, my mind was conditioned in a particular way to ‘learn’ the ‘expression’ only.
As an educator, when reflecting on this statement, it did make me wonder: Why did we never question this when we were kids? Did we not have the ability to think, or were we content that the teacher’s task was to share content, and as students, our job was to retain it without question? Were we just innocent or is this generation entrusted with the task of questioning everything or perhaps the exposure makes them naturally expressive, ‘unnecessarily’ so?
Brings me to the important point of content curation – can we afford as teachers today to continue to ‘teach’ without a consideration simply because it is mentioned in our syllabus? Are we prepared to answer questions that the children may have and importantly, can we admit, that some of it is ….well, debatable? Are we able to put things in perspective? Can we explain circumstances around which this was originated?
I say this in context of what is emerging in our society today. There is this huge debate about everything and anything, and sometimes, we need to take stock of what we are saying: What needs a discussion, what needs a rationale and what needs to be accepted in context.
Perhaps then, young students will not become so opinionated and take extreme positions but remain respectful and open minded. It is up to our generation to give them this platform for the sake of our future.
Perhaps plan ahead to make sure the problem of ‘trolls’ is manageable.
Food for thought?
My response to my little man, “Sure, a bit insensitive. Originated at a time when this thought drove home a point given it was a way of life. But the beauty of evolution is that things change. And perhaps instead of the more literal meaning, the connection to ‘getting many things done’ at the same time is more relevant today. Definitely drives home a point in this world where the word ‘multitasking’ is what everyone talks about. And this idiom holds its ground even years later in this era with a deeper connection of not taking it literally and being sensitive to what is happening in the world today!”