I have a very distinct childhood memory with my brother Seth, getting stuck under a thorn bush in the small forest behind our house. We were crawling around, pretending to be in the army when we realized we couldn’t get out from underneath the thorns. We called for my brother Aaron, and he came with an axe, to our rescue. We were screaming and laughing and enjoying the outdoors. I remember wrestling with my brother Caleb, playfully of course. Caleb would crouch on the floor and I would run up to him with all of my strength, determined to get him to the ground. Caleb would effortlessly bring me to the ground. Again, I would scream and laugh, not even realizing how out of breath I was. Hours of fun with my older brothers, entertaining ourselves without technology, without our parents direct supervision. We learned how it was important not to crawl too far under a thorn bush, and I was learning how to be tossed around without being scared. I also have distinct memory of coming home from school with my brothers, going downstairs, turning on the TV and watching cartoons. I remember how, on occasion, my brothers had me play video games with them. When we were little, we could watch the same movies over and over again and not get sick of it.
I have memories of active fun, and I have memories of technology fun. As time goes on, I see each generation having less active/outdoor fun, and more technology entertainment. I had fun with technology with my siblings, but it wasn’t educational for me. Yes we bonded when we had to agree on which show to watch, but it wasn’t the same interaction as wrestling, laughing, screaming, and eventually fighting with one another. Technology is taking away childhood. I had a mixture of both, but when I talk to my older and wiser parents and grandparents, they had an amazing childhood. My mom talks about how, as punishment, my grandparents would make her stay inside if she did something bad. Being outside, finding a way to entertain themselves was the only way my parents remember their childhood being. Then there is my generation, who had a mixture of both outside time and inside technology.
I look at young children now and they never look up from their electronics. These kids are missing out on so much. Parents are often so worried about their kids learning their ABC’s before they are 3, but forget the importance of simply living life. I have never acquired more knowledge then when I would be army crawling in my back yard, getting dirty, getting stuck, and getting hurt, because I was seeing the leaves, breathing fresh air, and studying bugs. Running around outside and playing with my brothers taught me how to be in the world. I hope and pray that future generations will once again see less time on electronics, and more time outside.