I took a trip with my toddler to the library this week. As we played and read books, I took a look around. The children’s floor was sprinkled with adolescents from the ages of 7-17.
And none of them were reading.
They were all hunched over their cell phones. Thumbs racing, scrolling, headphones plugging their ears.
I wanted to jump up and down and yell- “Look…BOOKS! All around you! Books on every subject. Books that will take you on adventures that you could never imagine alone. Books that will teach you things. Books that will make you laugh out loud- and some that will make you cry. But, in order for them to do so, you have to crack one open.”
I was watching Golden Girls the other morning (because basically I’m a 70 year old woman) and Dorothy and Blanche were playing a game of cards together. Which brought back memories of the thousands of card games I’ve played over the years with my Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins…
And this horrifying thought came to me… is my generation the last generation to play cards with their Grandmas? Will the camaraderie formed around a round table littered with snacks and late night conversations become non existent?
Will a tiny screen replace the relationships and friendships formed from face to face interaction?
My heart hurts. I don’t want this to become my child’s future. I want him to grow up in a world where he can imagine. Where he will hear the life stories of his grandparent’s as they tuck him into bed. Like, when my Grandma described her grandparents’s down feather bed, and waking to the smell of bacon. Watching her Grandma brush her hair and telling her stories. I can recite my family history from generations back through stories my Grandma told me at bedtime as she was tucking me in.
But something has changed. A shift in perspective. It’s like we always have to be watching something. There has to be an electronic turned ‘on’ at all times. Have you ever had a storm knock the power out? Everyone loses their minds!
Quiet time spent together has become a rarity. Afternoons spent in the kitchen baking cookies have become inconvenient. No more nights spent staring at the stars. Barefoot firefly catching. Late night s’mores and chats by a fire- giggles under covers and tears from laughing so hard.
We have to put a stop to this constant instant gratification- this need to be constantly entertained. We must teach our children to savor the time with family. To listen to their stories. Remind them to relish in the little moments, the seemingly small things. These people we love and cherish won’t be here forever, so enjoy them. Let’s show our children how to play cards, so that we’re not the last generation to stay up all night with nothing but a deck of cards at Grandma’s house.