Do You Want Your Child to Be a Doctor? Take Away the Smartphone and Hand Her an Embroidery Hoop

If your little darlings (or you) have dreams of medical school, you may think you purely need to focus on math and science. But, Roger Kneebone, professor of surgical education at Imperial College, London, says that you also need to know how to cut and sew.

Kneebone (side note: how could he be anything other than a doctor with that name?) told the BBC, that the issue has become urgent. Naturally, a surgeon needs to cut and sew. Do you really want someone’s first stitch to be on a patient and not a piece of cloth?

“It is a concern of mine and my scientific colleagues that whereas in the past you could make the assumption that students would leave school able to do certain practical things – cutting things out, making things – that is no longer the case,” says Prof Kneebone.

To keep reading, click here: Do You Want Your Child to Be a Doctor? Take Away the Smartphone and Hand Her an Embroidery Hoop

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17 thoughts on “Do You Want Your Child to Be a Doctor? Take Away the Smartphone and Hand Her an Embroidery Hoop

      1. I think the issue was using “embroidery” as the example skill set.

        I understand the article’s point that children aren’t learning the practical skills that they used to and that these skills are helpful to a career in surgery. And I understand that embroidery was used as an example because a knowledge of sewing may be particularly a useful skill to a surgeon.

        But if the message is also that there are not enough female doctors,this message is falling flat. I suspect that men traditionally havent held embroidery skills in high numbers previously to argue that this is a practical skill for doctors that is declining dramatically.

        So, when you say “she” should learn embroidery skills, but then change the subject later to ‘all children’ should learn practical skills, the message comes out with a little bit of gender bias.

        I dont think this is the intent of the article as much as it is poor phrasing.

  1. I am teaching my youngest son to sew (13). He’s the only one interested right now. He made his own pj pants and is now moving on to joggers. It’s hard to get time to do it in between wrestling and my schedule, but they’ll get done.

  2. My daughter has always been comfortable with tools. A favorite playtime was opening up the latest piece of failed electronics, disk drive, computer, clock, whatever. I also did lot of bike repairs. One wedding present (from me) was a nice tool set. A favorite moment (as told by my daughter) was when the burly guys came to deliver the new fridge and it would not fit through the door unless you took the door off. Guys were ready to walk away as they did not have the right tools. My daughter (5′ 2″) takes out the tool box and removes the door by herself. Fridge delivered. And she does have a math degree.

  3. Without getting in the war of gender bias, I believe what that person (Kneebone) was saying was for parents to encourage more hands on activities for their children. Most parents today put some kind of technology in their children’s hands way too early because it is easier to occupy their child’s attention thus freeing the parents responsibility to supervise the playtime. Hands on activities develop skills and interests in a different part of the brain plus it also works with developing emotional self esteem.

    1. It’s not just that it’s easier to let you kid zombie out in front of technology. But parents have been mislead into the paniced way of thinking that “computers are the wave of the future, therefore, our kids HAVE to understand them by age 2 or they are doomed to a life of failure”

      1. There’s an element of truth to the idea that kids *have* to learn about computers at an early age. Ditch diggers need to know how to use computers these days.

        The mistake is in believing that’s *all* they need to learn.

  4. Thank you for this. My 7-year-old wants to be a surgeon, and I’ve had a hard time letting go of my control-freak tendencies to let him do some more complex crafty things himself.

    He may find himself with a needlepoint kit for his birthday or Christmas!

  5. I put scissors, hammers, drills, a hand blender, pins/needles, and plenty of other implements of destruction in my kids hands starting at age 2. My four year old assembled a decorative fence for me the other day and the five year old is sewing himself a vest.

    Let the market get saturated with kids that can tweet and code. My kids’ll be the ones charging you $300 an hour to fix your broken pluming and rewire your electricity because they’ll be among the precious few with those kinds of skills 20 years from now.

    1. You sound a lot like Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame. He’s made a crusade out of trying to convince people that blue collar work a) is honorable, b) pays very well, and c) so critical that our civilization would collapse without it.

      1. Have you checked the hourly rate for a plumber lately? We’ve befriended ours (older home), and are happy to now get discounted rates. Meanwhile, fixed my DILs car, and mechanic charges $89/hr labor. Both are employed by companies that provide benefits, too.

    1. Ahh, but the headline doesn’t say teach your child embroidery, it says hand her an embroidery hoop. You use the hoop for cross-stitch as well.

  6. I think a lot of the traditional skills — that have, currently, fallen out of favor — are due a renaissance. Schools used to teach typing, home economics (which included cooking, sewing, etc.) and various types of shop classes. I’m old, and took typing in high school, back when typewriters were still manual and copy machines had not yet been invented, so we used carbon paper when multiple copies of a typed document were required. Correcting mistakes on carbon copies — while the papers were still in the machine (so that the corrections could be typed in after the mistakes erased) — was a common hassle. I went on to complete college and law school, but recognize that typing was the most useful class I ever took. I’m a very fast — and accurate — touch typist, will never get carpal tunnel (because we were taught how to best position our hands) and have benefitted personally, educationally and professionally a great deal from my superior typing ability. I also appreciate the heck out of modern word processing, copying and scanning technology. I feel sorry for younger colleagues typing more slowly or clumsily, or too hard or using unhealthy techniques, simply because they learned “typing” on a phone or — if on a keyboard — had to teach themselves, using the “hunt-and-peck” method or uTube (which is fabulous, by the way, and — apparently — has a video demonstrating every conceivable human activity).

    1. I always say that type was the most valuable course I took in high school as well! I’m a far worse typist now than I was in high school because it’s too easy to correct mistakes on a computer.

      Now, neither of my children’s schools teach type. The kids are supposed to “learn naturally.” Which is super dumb. Typing is a necessity these days. It should be a required class.

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