During Thanksgiving dinner, when your uncle asks you, “Hey kid, did you hear about what happened in the news today?” could you grant him a thoughtful response?
Could you tell him that Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was recently released from a Mexican prison after being held there for 214 days? Or that movie theaters are banning Google Glasses? Or that a windowless plane is in the works?
In a recent poll of Staples students, 78 percent reported it is either very important or important to keep up with the news.
However, in the same poll, only 41 percent of students claimed to read about, talk about, listen to or expose themselves to information regarding domestic or foreign affairs once a week or less.
So, many of us understand the importance of being aware of what’s going on in the world around us, yet many of us choose not to be.
There are countless reasons why it is both beneficial and interesting to check out the news more than “once a week or less.”
First off, to some students, learning about genetics in biology class may not be the most exciting lesson.
But when we can connect that knowledge of genetics to a recent discovery revealing which genes make someone a daredevil, we understand that what we learn may actually have real world value.
It shows us that learning in school may amount to something besides a good grade on a test.
And the events of today that help us understand the content of our textbooks will be the content of the textbooks 20 years from now.
Our grandparents have first-hand knowledge of the civil rights movement. But, besides talking to them about it, we can only experience it through our textbook readings.
So, isn’t it cool that when our kids are reading their history textbooks, we will be able to tell them, “I remember when our first black president was elected”?
And wouldn’t it be even cooler if we knew the specific details and could explain to our kids what happened? To be able to describe the moment when you learned that Barack Obama had been elected?
As humans, we should know what is happening to other humans. We should know about the spread of the Ebola virus and about the impact the Affordable Care Act has had on Americans and about ISIS’ mistreatment of women.
We need to be aware of our surroundings in order to make informed decisions and keep an open mind.
Even more so, when we’re off in the real, post-school world, we will literally need an understanding of current events to be successful.
Every job, from photographer to stockbroker, is affected by the happenings of the world. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a necessary job.
We need to learn about experiences different than our own. We need to know that there’s more out there than just what we see living in a small town.
As members of this society full of technological advancements, we need to take advantage of our advantages.
We have the easiest, most direct, fastest access to news of all time. And as students who are supposed to love learning, we should sufficiently value this easy accessibility.
It is just as easy to turn on notifications from Instagram as it is to turn on notifications from The New York Times.
And just as interesting, too.