There are times when I'd like to share something with you but my Voice in the Garden site does not seem the appropriate place, thus, this blog.

There are experiences, thoughts, views... and for anyone lurking/waiting to pounce (as has occurred on several occasions), please do not attempt to turn what I post into a political statement. This is NOT a political site, but IS about occurrences, reality, and personal opinion concerning what I see in the world around me and my family. There are many excellent writers whose works "speak" to me, and I shall include some of them. At times it may be
something I think you would enjoy or simply whatever ails you (me).
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Distant Sounds of Children Playing

As I worked in the garden I could hear voices in the distance, those of children yelling, screaming, laughing... they were playing. What a wholesome and heartwarming sound it was, and it reminded me of the play between my cousins and me when we were children.

We had no television when I was growing up in the 50's. A small part of our entertainment was a radio. On an occasional wintry Saturday morning after we had done our cleaning chores, we would sit around the Warm Morning coal stove and listen to some of our favourite radio programs: Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, and even... Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men, The Shadow knows.

Once the snow melted and with the first signs of spring, we couldn't wait to go outside. Run and jump, skip and shout, we played hopscotch, hide and seek, leap frog and tag, cowboys and Indians, and Simon Says. Our toys consisted of crayons and paper and chalk, scissors, cardboard boxes, balls and jacks; marbles and yo-yo's, Lincoln Logs, jump rope, pick-up-sticks and spinning tops. We sat on our grandmother's porch swing and played guessing games, told stories, and counted cars passing on the highway below. We made mud pies behind the old coal storage shed then explored whatever we could on foot.

There were times we would go next door to Mary Jo's house: her parents had an old shanty where they stored some old clothing and jewelry, odds 'n ends of cups and saucers and dishes; we would dress up and play house. Our asset was our imagination.

We loved going to school and enjoyed gym (Physical Education) and playing ball, and we never seemed to mind having to walk a mile each day to get there and then return.

But it wasn't all play for we had to work. Whoever heard of an allowance? If I wanted to buy something I had to earn it; thus, a babysitting job was found as soon as I was old enough. We helped cook, clean house, and do the laundry.

So times are better than they were with our generation and those before. The affluence is around us as we listen to parents speak of their children and their activities: they need new Nike shoes, cell phones, Ipods, computers, their own television sets and video games; one has soccer practice while the other has to be at a piano lesson, another to gymnastics; and then there is Disneyland and camping and basketball beginning next week, and ....

Where are the moments of silence whereby one is at peace with his or her own thoughts? When was the last time you heard your child or grandchild say, I am sooo bored. How did we reach this level of entertainment?

My husband and I traveled to the coast some time ago and stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Seated at the table next to us was a family of four, presumably mother, father, teenage brother and sister. For the entire meal, the young man did not speak, but had his head looking down at his lap and at his phone, texting. There was no face-to-face with his family.

It is not my intention to paint this picture with a broad stroke, but rather present that which we have observed over the years. When you walk down the street notice how many passersby are hearing only the sounds being uttered into their heads by way of headphones and/or earphones. Notice the passing car with children riding in the back seat and how they are being silenced with video games. There is such limited observation of the sounds and sights around us. The environment seems to have shrunk. Ears and eyes are being fed - input. Where is the reflection and the output?

My husband was talking with some company sales person who told him that some of their younger customers are not able to interact with other customers and suppliers; they lack communication and face-to-face verbal skills and cannot deal with difficult communication because they have not learned how. They may be intelligent, internet savvy, but are devoid of mental agility.

Tis a sad commentary on this electronic life we live and the marketing that convinces that everyone needs one. Each generation thinks they know better than the last, and there is no going back. I don't know the solution, and unfortunately, believe much of this began with the breakdown of the family.

There are still those families who know who they are, refuse to be led by the masses, know what is of most value to them and maintain a balance in their lives. I just hope that we continue to hear some distant sounds of children playing.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Diana, you are so "right on" with this posting. I wonder how many children today would be able to recognize the different songs that various birds sing? That was always such fun for me as a child.