Hands up if you’re tired of your kids being so completely disconnected from life due to the mini-computer they hold in their otherwise would-be-curious hands.
Keep your hands up if you’re just as bad as they are. I thought so.
Forgive me for sounding so authoritative here, I’m only coasting on the fumes of my eldest teen who has since returned from Outward Bound as a completely enlightened human. But trust me when I tell you, I am just as bad at this whole screen thing as the next parent. See?
But that doesn’t mean we ditch the effort and accept the reality of a disengaged household. Nope. We must try harder. There are a multitude of reasons to do so, among them:
We need to teach kids not to believe everything they see. Pascal, just because you see someone that looks and talks like Donald Trump on America’s Got Talent, doesn’t mean it happened.
Tiny screens create a limitless world ready for our inquiring fingertips, but it does also keep us from actually going out and experiencing that world. Culture is something that we Americans lack collectively. The Taj Mahal would like to see you in person, with or without your damn phone (read: camera), sure–but definitely not through it. It’s much bigger in person, I’m guessing.
Nature Defecit Disorder is a really big problem. And I’m not just talking exercise–I’m talking mind/body/soul. You can’t get that through organized sports or a simple walk in your neighborhood. You must actually go into the wild and get replenished. Try it for a day, push for a weekend or a week.
When you have a device that does whatever you say, you tend to limit your experience. You huddle into your comfort zone and stay there. Without it, you’re releasing the need to always always have something to hold onto: hereby strengthening confidence.
This isn’t just about the outdoors. This is also a return to the imagination and a well deserved break for the mind. The brain craves simplicity. It processes so much every day and then we keep thinking this way in our sleep, or the busy spill-over becomes why we can’t sleep.
So for this week, I’m going to practice what I preach. Good timing, I think, since school is just around the corner. I know I’ll get some pushback from them, when I pluck those phones from their desperate hands, but what’s the worst thing that could happen? A little boredom? A little imagination comes back? A little gratitude for living in an environment where the water is clean for swimming and the fields aren’t landfills? All I can say is that I’ve got Jake on my side, the oldest and most influential of everyone. So if he can do it for 15 days and see the upside so clearly, so can everyone else.
Wish me Luck,