My parents had three standard answers for the age-old childhood lament: “I’m BOOORED!” My dad would say “Go read a book”. My mom would state “Go get a job”. If this failed to shut us up, we would be unceremoniously ushered outside to find a friend to play with. Thinking back on it, these responses were perfectly distilled nuggets of parental wisdom. Books were integral to creating a lifelong love of learning and rich imagination development. A chore or job enabled us to develop a sense of responsibility, enjoy the satisfaction of work well done, and assist us with the practical ability to earn some extra money. Lastly, face to face interaction with our friends helped us to expand some very useful social skills.
As my children became teenagers, I assumed that I was well prepared to do battle armed with these three options. However, there was something missing….No whiny complaints. Just an eerie silence. I started to wonder if I were somehow an amazing, masterful parent who was able to bring up such well adjusted children that they did not need any further guidance. No such luck. I began to notice two strangely hypnotized children staring with glazed eyes into a thin rectangular screen. They seemed not to notice their surroundings except when nature or hunger called. Even then, they would robotically go into the bathroom and kitchen--navigating the furniture while still staring into the little box.
At first, I enjoyed the quiet. After all, who really wants to listen to kids complaining about having nothing to do? However, I began to realize, with a growing concern, just how damaging this can be.
Maybe this seems like a harmless diversion to you until you realize that, as a nation, we are all gazing glassy-eyed into our individual techno devices—computer screens, IPads and IPhones. Pollsters have actually gone out and asked people on the street to identify photos such as Ronald Reagan, Joe Biden, and Margaret Thatcher with some hilarious (or very, very sad) results. However, these same people will easily recognize Kim Kardashian or Snookie. Ha, ha—right? Until you realize, the joke is on us.
Today, in the news Russia and China are planning a major “war games” practice along with Syria and Iran. The Muslim Brotherhood has claimed the winning majority in the recent Egyptian elections. Egyptian terrorists already have begun attacking Israel from the Sinai Peninsula just within the first 24 hours of these election results. Apparently, this outcome emboldened them and signaled that it is now “open season” on the Jews. Let the games begin.
If I were to poll 100 people on the street, I would venture that maybe only a handful would even have a clue as to what I just referenced. Yet, these are matters of extreme national importance and severely affect our global security. They have the ability to throw a match into the tinderbox of the entire world.
No worries…Just let me check my FaceBook page again. I always wondered what happened to Susie from 3rd grade. Hey! Do you think Kim Kardashian’s derriere is actually real?