I see it in all of us in the year and a half since we've moved back from Africa. First world problems. Stemming from too many choices. Too much immediacy. Too many distractions. And too little real life interaction with people and nature.
We've tried desperately to limit the kids' electronics and encourage them going to the neighborhood park with other kids. The problem is, kids are so over scheduled and over stimulated, no one hangs out at the park anymore. Besides the kids going there to smoke pot. And they can do that in the comfort of their own basement these days. This is Colorado.
Columbine. Aurora. Arapahoe. Colorado.
We're infamous for shootings and smoking pot.
I'm discouraged about the future for my kids. That American culture has gone so overboard with specializing and personalizing things for our children, with kids menus, competitive sports that start younger and younger, portable screens so our kids can be entertained virtually anywhere they go. Resulting not only in short attention spans, but also in intolerance. Because to be tolerant, one would need to practice tolerance. If our kids are eternally catered to, doted on, entertained and constantly told they are special simply because they breathe, this breeds self-centeredness. Self-absorption. And selfishness. Which in turn leads to isolation and depression. Factors which can lead to drugs and worst case scenario, violence.
Violence we're getting too accustomed to hearing about in the news. So we as a society look for even more distractions to numb ourselves from the dire reality. Facebook, Twitter, Candy Crush, alcohol, drugs, junk food, movies, tabloids, sexting, porn. Pick your poison. But know that when you do, your kids are learning how to cope with first world problems from watching what you do.
Change something small today,
to change something big tomorrow.
Eat dinner together as a family.
Have a designated no electronics hour.
Touch your child in a reassuring affectionate way at least twice a day.
Walk your child to school if possible or ride bikes around the neighborhood.
Talk and share the best thing that happened during your day.
Family Fun Night (games, talent show, etc.)
Friends Night. Invite friends over for a low-key game night or meet at the park.
Or simply smile at someone.