Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Time Activities: A lot can be learned outside of the classroom

Growing up in the Midwest of the United States in the 1960s and 70s, life in many ways seemed so simple and fun, but perhaps not by today's standards. With our world today filled with electronic gadgets and gizmos (some of which seem utterly useless like a USB lava lamp), teenagers walk around as if some of this devices are an actual physical appendage to their  bodies like an arm or leg, and these kids would experience some form of panic attack if their cell phone battery died. And if all the cell phone companies went out of business tomorrow and service ended as we know it today, I think many teenagers would wither up and blow away.

I remember the carefree days of playing in the cornfields, fishing along a quiet stream, hiking through the woods, and riding bikes. Come to think of it, I can't remember spending much time at all in front of the TV. And personal computers? Hah!

Now, I'm not saying that technology doesn't have its benefits, for were it not for the Internet and wireless communication, I wouldn't be able to type this blog entry on the bus coming home from work. Yet, providing kids with carefree opportunities to experience the simple pleasures of life instead of sending them to 20 different after school programs (i.e., ballad on Mondays, piano on Tuesdays, karate on Wednesdays, gymnastics on Thursdays . . .), perhaps we should be providing other opportunities to grow in different ways.

Success in life isn't measure simply by the future job our kids will have 10 years from now. Personally, I wouldn't trade the memories of just being a kid. I mean how many  kids climb up on the roof of their house, make a crude parachute out of sheets, and jump off to see if it works? I survived!

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