Saying something is one thing, doing it is another.
“I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.”–Portia, (The merchant of Venice.)
After talking about the problems of too much screen time, I figured I better be putting it into practice myself.
It’s funny, but whenever I refrain from one thing I seem to compensate with another. I guess there’s so much time to be filled and most of us don’t know what to do with it.
That’s the trouble with a free society, people like being told how to manage their time by other people, and the people in charge have their time managed simply by being in charge. I know few things harder on the mind than doing absolutely nothing. In fact, as I’ve noted since I was a little girl, there is no such thing as doing nothing. Unless you are dead. Life and death are states of being that you don’t have to try to bring about. (I mean not that you can’t cause your own death, but that once you are dead, your body at least is not doing anything.) If you’re reading this you must be alive, so of course I’ll talk about that.
I’m all for a free society. But Time is a commodity people don’t know how to handle well. My guess is because we can’t make it, or destroy it, only use it. If you make something you usually know what to do with it. But if someone else makes something, and you’ve never seen it before, then of course, you don’t know how to use it right off the bat.
All this to make a point. Knowing how to use your time well is not something we’re born with. And berating each other for it is really quite pointless; only experience teaches the use of time. Unless of course you can talk to the person who made it (Hi, God). But even then some things we never learn without experience.
So, most of us have had the experience that staring at a screen is a normal, somehow valid use of our time. But I won’t go into that again, since I just did. I think the real question is, what are our other options? What could possibly be more fun and more worthwhile and more relaxing?
I am continually frightened by older people recounting conversations with people of my age range. They say we can’t think, that we believe only what we’ve been told all our lives, and that we have only relative moral standards. And we are this way because of our schooling and our television. Schooling is a topic for another time, but the more I think about it, the more I realize how TV and movies did influence my acceptance of certain points of view. I think differently now, but until I hit my teens I really didn’t question it. I’m fortunate to have a family with strong values, so I wasn’t a ship without anchor, but I can imagine how much worse it must be for kids with no such anchor.
I’d say an excellent use of time is in getting more educated about things. Being willing to read books that present opposing views, or at least show all sides. (I just read Red Scarf Girl which was chock full of ideas I don’t agree with, but I enjoyed it.)
For us millenials sometimes learning just can’t happen until we unplug. I have a job babysitting some kids in my neighborhood, and at first all one of them seemed to do was play on an Ipad, except for brief intervals of playing with dolls or going outside, I kind of had to push her into it. Or we’d watch a movie, but while the older ones and I enjoyed it, the middle girl would get bored and go back to the Ipad. (Anyone else see the irony of that action?) This is a five year old. The worst of it is I let her do it sometimes because I was tired or wanted to do something else. My mom finally snapped me out of it last week by pointing out that I wasn’t paying enough attention to my charges. Yikes! But I decided to make a new rule, not electronics save for the purpose of texting their parents. At least for most of the days I’m there. I admit this is not easy to stick to. It feels like I have SO MUCH TIME.
But that’s just it. I have so much time. Time to play games, and read stories, and sing and dance, and watch the baby. Time to write a story. Time to tell a story. Time to actually learn about these kids. It’s not the work of a day or a week, but it can happen; because I can be present instead of just there.
This would be a good comments topic; what things in your life do you need more time for?
I won’t say I don’t get bored, but there’s other ways to deal with boredom. I still watch movies, but having less time to do it in means choosing more carefully. Often I’ll want to watch one movie one day and a few days later I don’t want to anymore. Now I sometimes pick movies that I think will help me with a project, or I just need to hear their message again. I guess what sums it up is the reason you do something is what makes the experience valuable.
With that I bid you ado until next time–Natasha.