DM: Our Kids r watch’g

january field
Image by fred1st via Flickr

Our kids are watching us, and their world becomes increasingly un-natural and lived indoors–like the grownups.

Have we reached the tipping point beyond which technology dictates our behavior? We adults have always been the models whose motions and actions are mimicked by our children. Where are we leading them? Is there a way to pull the plug on our machines–at least once daily, more would be better?

Can we re-engage with each other in the physical, outdoor world–and with that world, by touch, taste, smell, sound, and thought–without clicks or keystrokes? Can we pull free of the gravitational field of our own social planets inside our own heads for most of most days?

If we can’t change our grown-up imbalances, we can’t expect those small ones who look up to us to do or go or act or be any different than their models.

Here are two source articles as food for thought regarding this issue; this is as far as I can take this today. You do the rest. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to “fix” this relationship with technology, nature and each other. This, to my thinking, is not trivial.

“Alone Together”: An MIT Professor’s New Book Urges Us to Unplug

Study: Young kids better with tech than ‘life skills’ | Safe and Secure – CNET News

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Oh, Fred, how true! The stunning poem by Drew Dellinger comes to mind called The Hierglyphic Highway, it begins
    “it’s 3:23 in the morning

    and I’m awake

    because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep

    my great great grandchildren

    ask me in dreams

    what did you do while the planet was

    what did you do when the earth was

    We must get the children back to the woods, out to the fields, into the fresh fallen snow, teach them to know bark and leaf and bird call, not to fear heat and cold and the wet or the dark. We elders must lead the way in this, those of us who remember how to play out doors, find our souls in the humus and the wild beautiful places of earth. We must teach them to fall in love with our beautiful earth. Perhaps a reborn sense of Beauty will save us.

  2. Kid’s not caring about nature is on the top of my worry list. Even though I live in a very rural place its hard to find kids playing outside. Parents have to set the example by showing them how fun the natural world is.
    This is a problem of great proportions. The next generation not caring about ecosystems could spell the death to countless environs and species.