Storytelling was part of learning. Latecomers were not tolerated even though some came from long distances. Along the way we marked places which would help us determine whether we were late or on time. One would stand at a certain point and measure your shadow with a stick or some other item or a fixed mark, which would serve as indicators of time.
From this point we would then either run faster or just take it easy, depending on whether we were late or on time, judging from the side of the mark the shadow would be. We learnt these coping tactics from our predecessors.
Today times have changed. I need not bore you with what we all know. Children are going to school younger, at the age of five or six. The schools are nearby in most places. Time is no longer measured by shadows, etc.
Though things have changed for the better, there seems to be much amiss these days. Some would even say the tables have been turned upside down. We are catching up with modern times and our children are exposed to so much that they are overwhelmed.
I had a shock of my life a couple of weeks ago when I went into this supermarket. I had a senior student of mine who is in his late 30s. I asked him to pick three dozen loaves of bread, among other items, as we were going to a funeral. One of the workers in her late teens noticed this guy was picking lots of other things and she came to assist him, which was very kind of her. They put 24 loaves of bread in one trolley. At the point of sale I asked how many loaves were there and was told that they were three dozen loaves. Upon counting them they were only 24.
I asked my student the number of loaves that he had picked and he insisted they were three dozen. I called the young lady who had assisted him and she confirmed that they were three dozen.
Upon asking them both how many loaves were in a dozen they said eight, hence the 24 loaves. My student is no longer a primary or secondary pupil. He is in tertiary training. This lady works in a shop, which deals with quantities.
I concluded that we have a lost generation. Comparing what we went through and what our children and grandchildren are going through, one would expect better comprehension.
My grandson, who is soon to turn five, can count up to 100, recites all the months of the year, all the days in the week and switches on and off the gadgets in the home, be they simple or sophisticated. This I cannot do myself.
Is it a question of what has gone wrong or right? Times have changed!
Rev Dr Levee Kadenge