Monday, October 13, 2014

Take the Trail, less Traveled

I can already hear P say as I'm starting this post, "Tread lightly on this one"...
In other words he's saying, "Try not to piss off too many people".
Well That my Friends, is just the invitation I need. Isn't something that Gets a Reaction out of us, better than something That doesn't? If your a First- timer here: Welcome.
I can count the number of hours the television was on in my household growing up on one hand. 5 fingers. We watched The Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Saturday nights. Sometimes on a Friday night my Mom would watch Dallas, and during the weeknights, if my Dad wasn't working, he watched the nightly news with a Crème De Menthe as his companion. I would guess 5 hours a week. My friends and I share similar stories. Playing outside and climbing trees, trumped television any day of the week. Carter Aune got Atari, and playing Frogger was cool for a few minutes. Even Ms. Pac- Man was cute, but I quickly decided up in my tree fort with a Pink Qwik in hand, was where it was at.
Fast Forward 20 years,,,give or take.
Scene #1: Mommy and min-i me enter the store. Child makes eye- contact with un- recognizable salesman, and gets the red- face scrunched up, impending tantrum in 5,4,3..Cut the Scene #2 where Mommy throws Mini- me her Smart phone to avoid all un- pleasantries. The infant that hasn't yet developed a speech pattern connecting more than 3 words, but will become mesmerized by the beeping, chirping and the light show exactly 4 inches from their face. Further forward to Scene #5 where Mini- me is yet again traveling towards tantrum #2 because Mommy will not let her swipe her credit card through the machine. No speech quality yet, but we sure know how to Charge It! And I shake my head still at this.
Before you get all judgmental about me, and how would I know anything about any of this. Let me remind you, I do actually know some amazing people, that have some amazing off- spring. People that I respect their parenting abilities, and know that sometimes even they take short- cuts. Let me also remind you that I have had some experience,,,30 years or so of observing child rearing at its not- so- finest, and working with the general public. I have reached out on this very topic, to close friends in wonder of how all this giving up, went down hill. A good friends of mine, tried to explain it in terms of considering others. She admitted that she gave toys, technology and anything else up to avoid making the environment stressful for others. She would rather avoid annoying people she didn't even know, nor would see again, than to let her Mini Me, have a moment, and move on. That's the point I was trying to make! Have the moment! Make it uncomfortable! How many times will you Actually have to go through this before they get it? Did I mention both of her children have their own I- pads? Whomp, whomp.
Even as an innocent by- stander, I'm secretly rooting for you. I will 100% okay with the wailing, screaming and that awful pitch- not-so-perfect sound only a 1-4 year old can make. Why make an electronic device available for pawn? If your telling me your doing it to spare me? I believe your only sparing yourself my friend. And believe me, the pawning starts earlier everyday. I wonder how many midnight feedings take place in the glow of a smart phone rather than a night light. Can you tell me Exactly What's going on that's so important? I must be missing something..
A few years back, the leader of one of the largest computer development companies shared some amazing observations about how todays youth is being raised. Here, the man responsible for the anticipation of the Black- Friday business after any product launch, was comparing the Internet, to Heroin for children. He characterized the young people he interviewed and hired as mostly "Fantastic multi- taskers, in- capable of communication and socialization". I couldn't agree more.
So if you consider yourself a cool person, and you grew up, most of your life like me, having to actually walk to change the channel, (that is If you had Other channels to choose from!) Don't you owe it to your off- spring, to Take the Trail, less- Traveled? Don't you owe it to your mini- me to go outside? Scrape a knee? Get cold, get hot. Have bugs crawl on you and explore without using a key word. Isn't it worth the time, to keep the technology for Teens and older?

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