Have you noticed the trend that has developed in recent times that seems to suggest children and teens (and, perhaps adults, too) can’t survive unless they are entertained at extreme levels 24/7?
Seriously. Look around. It doesn’t matter if you use the average American household, a school, a church or local library as an example. A glance into any of these environments (or, random other of your choosing) will most likely include some form of entertainment being offered to any youth present at a given moment.
This strange phenomenon has even worked its way into areas that were once considered serious, solemn or uneventful. Example: Going to the dentist used to be a rather mundane experience. Sit in the chair. Open wide, and be uncomfortable for the next 20 minutes to several hours, depending on the reason for your visit. That was then. This is now. Going to the dentist has become akin to a mini vacation. No kidding! Warm towels, headphones playing music, manicures and facial massages are all typical perks of the new dental spa experience.
Kids in school can no longer simply sit down, open a book and do their work. Classrooms need to be elaborately themed, right down to the very doors at the entryways of each room. Door-decorating contests abound, turning the average hallway into something that feels less like a school building and ore like one has stepped through the wardrobe of Narnia. Goodness forbid any teacher suggest rote memorization as a learning tool. Students today are encouraged to rap their spelling words, dance their way through math class or stage an entire Olympics day just to celebrate the end of the week. Bounce houses, pony rides and entertainers galore accompany children through what used to be called, merely “The Last Day of School.”
Even at home, parents spend thousands of dollars on the latest greatest gadgets their children apparently can’t live without. We can’t just read a book anymore. We must have a Kindle Fire to do it. No more climbing trees or building forts in the woods, either. Nowadays, these things are done through virtual means with complicated apps and programs; or, worse, an entire “event” is built around the idea with expert tree climbers and architects brought in to show kids “how it’s done.” We can’t have supper. We need to have a community affair, inviting every person from our house to the next county, serving endless buffets and arrays of themed food. And, please—whatever you do—do not forgot elaborate centerpieces and random glitter and sprinkles strewn across tables, counters and floors. What’s the occasion? Why, none other than it is Friday, of course! Otherwise, you’ll just be having an ordinary meal, instead of a super-duper supper event.
Although my examples may be a tad bit exaggerated (maybe not?), the point remains that normal, everyday living is being pushed to a back burner. Those who wish to maintain simpler, quieter lifestyles are called, old-fashioned, radical or obsolete. There’s almost a fear among the general public if words like “conversation” or “literature” or “quiet evening at home” are mentioned.
To this I say: Life is already entertaining enough. Stop with the super-sized, extreme version of it all. Let kids be kids. Count your blessings and realize that even boredom serves a certain purpose. It’s ok “not” to be entertained 24 hours a day. Just live.
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.