Urie Bronfenbrenner Quotes
One of the most significant effects of age-segregation in our society has been the isolation of children from the world of work. Whereas in the past children not only saw what their parents did for a living but even shared substantially in the task, many children nowadays have only a vague notion of the nature of the parent’s job, and have had little or no opportunity to observe the parent, or for that matter any other adult, when he is fully engaged in his work.
Like the sorcerer of old, the television set casts its magic spell, freezing speech and action and turning the living into silent statues so long as the enchantment lasts. The primary danger of the television screen lies not so much in the behavior it produces as the behavior it prevents — the talks, the games, the family festivities and arguments.
In today’s world parents find themselves at the mercy of a society which imposes pressures and priorities that allow neither timenor place for meaningful activities and relations between children and adults, which downgrade the role of parents and the functions of parenthood, and which prevent the parent from doing things he wants to do as a guide, friend, and companion to his children.
Witness the American ideal: the Self-Made Man. But there is no such person. If we can stand on our own two feet, it is because others have raised us up. If, as adults, we can lay claim to competence and compassion, it only means that other human beings have been willing and enabled to commit their competence and compassion to us–through infancy, childhood, and adolescence, right up to this very moment.
Turning on the television set can turn off the process that transforms children into people… It is primarily through observing, playing, and working with others older and younger than himself that a child discovers both what he can do and who he can become — that he develops both his ability and his identity.
Thus if we know a child has had sufficient opportunity to observe and acquire a behavioral sequence, and we know he is physically capable of performing the act but does not do so, then it is reasonable to assume that it is motivation which is lacking. The appropriate countermeasure then involves increasing the subjective value of the desired act relative to any competing response tendencies he might have, rather than having the model senselessly repeat an already redundant sequence of behavior.