To: 100 educators at the first National Connected Superintendent Summit to expand technology in the classroom at the White House summit.
Won’t you please pack the following poem in your head on your way to Washington? Remember, once we lose the humanity, we lose it all.
To Children of the 21st Century
How do you keep your fingers so free of dirt?
How do you come in from play without
Mud on your feet, your clothes, your cheeks?
How do you not even sweat?
How do you live without giving eye contact
To the person sitting in front of you?
How do you spend time with your friend
Oh Children of the 21st Century,
Why is there silence in a room filled
With family on this holiday?
How did you become so mute?
Do you know how rain feels
Soaking your shirt to your skin?
The smell of sea salt in your hair
After a dip in the sea?
Have you watched a little seed
Pushing its first breath
Out of soil you’ve patted down
A few weeks ago?
Can you see a cardinal, a mynah,
A crow, with your eyes closed, listening
To their signature songs they sing out to you
In your own back yard?
Do you know the feel of your grandpa’s grip
Warm and strong in your hand?
The story behind that long scar that runs
The length of his arm?
Do you ever count clouds, lying
On soft green grass, laughing
Over silly stuff shared with a friend?
Do you ever cry over a child starving
In Africa or in your neighborhood?
Feel upset over trees being cut
For freeways and shopping malls,
Fancy sports arenas?
Have you ever used the eraser
At the end of a pencil,
Writing a poem, a song, a story.
A thank you note?
Do you know the feel of crisp
New pages of a book, as they unfold
Moving plots, faster than your impatient
Fingers can follow your eyes?
Oh, Children of the 21st Century,
Forgive us, for what we have done.
© Frances Kakugawa