One of the things that my mom and I spend a great deal of time talking about is the difference between the way we (my siblings and I) grew up and the rest of the world.
You see, when I was growing up we didn’t have cable or satellite TV. We had a small television and a VCR for most of my childhood. We lived just up a hill from our small town movie rental shop. On Friday’s if we did what we were supposed to do we got to rent a movie for the weekend. 4-5 of us, depending on who was home that weekend, would have to all agree on a movie or two. That was always interesting. That was the extent of our television watching, unless we were at our grandmother’s house. Then we all had to agree on what show to watch, and when there are as many kids around as there were when we were growing up it was never easy for us all to make that decision.
So generally, when we got home from school, after snacks were eaten and homework was done we were all straight outside to play. If it was too cold, too wet, or too dark, then we just played together in our bedrooms or in the family room. We didn’t have a ton of toys but what we had we played with. And we read! Books were my best friend.
If I was going to be punished for something I had done wrong it wasn’t going to be the phone or TV privileges taken away (although that did happen too, more so when I got into high school, and more the phone than the TV) generally it would be my books.
That was just how we lived. And we enjoyed it. Things were simple and easy. We had fun outside, we got dirty, and we even got hurt a time or two! (Mostly my sister and one brother were on that end of the spectrum, but hurts still happened).
In today’s society we are so driven my social media and the latest in technology we have forgotten what it means to just live simply and to just simply live.
We have 1st graders getting trouble for texting in class and kids “cyberbullying” more and more each day. Our kids don’t know how to be kids.
But why is that? Maybe it’s because they are seeing the example being set by their parents. I am just as guilty as the next person on this one. I know I spend more time than is necessary staring down at my phone instead of looking at them in the face. When we go out to dinner the first thing we do is turn on YouTube so that each kid can watch some silly show on their own while we wait for the food to come.
Are we teaching our children how to interact in a social setting? No, not really. We are more concerned with keeping them quiet and not embarrassing us out in public. What kind of example am I to my children?
Am I telling my children that I love Facebook more than them when I have my nose buried in the screen when all they want to do is tell me that they love me? When my son comes to me to ask a question and all I can say is “Not right now. Let me finish reading this status.”
I think it is time that we take back our families. Does everyone really need to see you “check-in” to every place you go? Do we really need to see a new “selfie” every 10 minutes? Have you changed that much? Maybe, next time you get ready to go to the store or out to dinner at a restaurant with your family try a little experiment, leave your phone in the car! Or when you are all home for an evening together do the unthinkable! Turn you phone, your iPad, your computer, and yes, even your television off.
Take some time to live simply. And simply live with those that are closest to you.