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Friday, January 16, 2015

Time to unplug

Several times a week I walk on a beautiful lakeside trail.  Connecting with community and enjoying nature is a perfect way to start a day!  I regularly see serious runners, older couples, teenagers training, exercise groups, people walking to work and of course, moms with strollers  :) 
Today I passed a mom pushing her three year old toddler and noticed that the little boy was completely engrossed in his iPad.  A mile or so later, I saw another young mother with a baby tucked snugly in his stroller, again totally involved in a tablet.  Hmmmmm...why did this bother me so?  Well, for one thing, it was a beautiful winter day and the lake was active with ducks, geese and other water fowl that these little kids were missing.  They also were oblivious to the cars, people, clouds...even how the wind was stirring up the water, making little waves crash against the shore.  Or maybe it's that electronics has become almost like a pacifier.  Fussy baby?  Hand him a tablet programmed with games designed for babies.  Restless kids in the car?  Set them up with their favorite movies.  Sure, it's easy to entertain children with flashy electronics but is it the best thing for them?

Both parents and children miss out on valuable interactions and observations when their eyes and minds are focused on the little device on their laps.  Put away the iPad and point out the geese.  Count the baby ducklings.  Look for ripples that mean fish are near the surface.  Say hello to passers by.  Interact with your children and teach them to look around and enjoy the world around them. 

Maybe we can try to become a little more "unplugged" this year.  It's worth a try  :)


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