Here we are on planet earth all cocooned up with our e-gadgets: smart phones, dumb phones, laptops, Tablets and iPads. We Google and Google and Yahoo ourselves silly. We text and bluetooth and GPS ourselves into oblivion. We multi-task and find endless ways to be engaged electronically. In the meantime, our seasons are changing, our children are growing, the stars glitter and fade but the sun shines nearly every single day here in southern California (are we lucky or what?). Why would any sane person want to walk around wearing headphones and connected to a electronic gadget when there’s so much to appreciate in nature, so much discord in world affairs. How do we focus? We don’t! It’s called distracted living.
While we were busy playing video games, sending and receiving email jokes and expressing our intolerance to our elected representatives, the world was spinning and our kids were falling off. They are now being raised to become whining wimps or belligerent bullies without proper parental guidance. How else are they able to get the attention of parents who are too self involved to set an example of what human parents used to do in the pre-virtual cyberspace days? Whatever became of social skills? Maybe one of the tech giants of Silicon Valley can create a set of virtual parents to teach the offspring how to say please and thank you, to share toys and snacks, clean up after themselves and help younger siblings. Is that asking too much? It’s not unusual to see a parent with children seated in a restaurant – each busily texting and not sharing the experience of lunch or dinner “together”. Recently I saw a baby in a highchair, barely able to sit, pushing buttons on a tablet, amusing herself while her mother sat engaged in texting on a smart phone. I’m beginning to wonder why people bother to get married or have children nowadays. If you travel to most any foreign city you’ll see young American college students standing in line patiently to get into McDonald’s. They loaded their video games or television shows onto their iPads and do the same thing abroad that they would be doing at home. What is the purpose of travel? They ride on trains through the English or French countryside and never look out the windows. They eat pizza in Rome and complain that it’s not like Pizza Hut or Papa John’s. They walk through magnificent museum archways adjusting the stuff in their back packs. When asked about their perspective on visiting foreign countries they usually answer half-heartedly, “It was okay.” It’s distracted living and we’d better wake up and do something about the zombieization of our kids.
Does youTube or WebMed have any solution? I don’t know. I’ll Google it to find out and send you the link. In the meantime, shut down all your electronic toys and gadgets. Take a ride, a hike, a swim -- go fishing -- visit a place you've never seen before -- read a book -- talk to strangers -- paint, draw, create something by hand -- try a new recipe -- bake a cake -- or make a list of places you'd like to visit, people you most admire -- learn a language -- just do something meaningful for your own self-enrichment without the Internet. Just for today, live in the moment.