Teaching Time

Ann Litts
3 min readOct 8, 2020

An outdated waste of time

Photo by Kiran CK on Unsplash

For a while now Time has been at the forefront of many of my pieces.

Humans lack of being able to live in Our Now, I feel, is directly related to our attempts to ‘keep’ time.

I had wondered when it was — exactly — that this mandate was given to Humans? And like all questions gently floated into the ether — I got my answer.

My middle granddaughter — per her mother — is learning to tell time. Not on digital clocks— which exist all over everyone’s home and is the most common way to ‘see’ time. Nope. She is struggling to learn how to tell time on the face of a clock.

Unless the kid plans on moving to London and hanging out at Big Ben — I’m at a loss as to why this is still included in the curriculum. Everyone is aware they threw out cursive handwriting years ago. Surely the faces of clocks are every bit as irrelevant to Life As We Know It.

The lesson my granddaughter is getting has many nuances and runs much deeper than simply being able to read the face of a clock.

First and foremost — when we start to tell time — recognize that minutes, hours, days exist past Our Now — we have begun the process of losing The Nows of our days. Small children do not understand the concept of Time and live joyfully in each moment as it happens. Until we teach them otherwise.

Second lesson — school will painfully insist on teaching you stuff that has zero bearings on reality. I remember a math teacher of mine explaining why calculators were not allowed to be used in his class. He stated very firmly that we wouldn’t be walking around with calculators in our pockets when we grew up. Every single time I take my iPhone out and use my calculator app — I send a silent, “Fuck you!” to that teacher. Because actually — we ALL do have calculators in our pockets in our adulthood.

Third lesson — and this is the saddest one — the struggle to learn something new is real. Kids and their teachers (many of whom These Days are also their parents) engage in a battle of wills to get information integrated into young minds. And truthfully — as with all battles you face with your kid — those moments should be chosen wisely. They should not be about teaching them how to read a clock face when they have hardly ever even seen one in their whole life.

Learning should be updated and appropriate to Life As They Live it. For example, I can’t read a sundial and I managed to grow up into a semi-competent adult.

Sundials, cursive writing, and clock faces belong to days gone by. They should be touched on briefly in history lessons as they have all become part of our history — not of Our Now.