Tag Archives: video games

If We Don’t Get Our Kids Back Outside, They Won”t Remember How to Get There

If you’re an adult past the age of thirty or so, then you have a broader concept of the passage of time and how it relates to the way we chose to entertain ourselves. For instance, when I was a teenager too young to drive, I would spend a portion of spring, my entire summer, and a portion of fall, fishing the rivers, streams, and canals within walking distance of my home.

There were always blue gills, catfish, and the occasional bass to be had, but my favorite and superior tasting was the chain pickerel. This little monster (which we referred to as a “pike”) had a nickname which pronounced him the wolf of the water. Besides hitting your bait like a ton of bricks, it had the most delicious white flesh of any fresh water fish I’ve eaten.

If I travel back to years previous to my fishing escapades, I could always be found outside playing in the freshly plowed and disked fields during the day, or chasing lightning bugs and playing hide-n-seek at night. As children, no matter what we did day or night, in the heat and humidity of a summer day, or a fresh blanket of snow in February, it was always centered around outdoor activities.

It seems that now and for some time, kids have chosen to move inside, forsaking the boundless freedom of nature for the small cubicles void of fresh air and sunshine, for the buttons, screens, and headsets needed to operate a new wave of entertainment, the video game.

What happened to the miniature earthen works and construction sites excavated by the powerful Tonka toys? What became of tree houses, forts, six guns, bows and arrows that merged with the imagination of young minds creating a plethora of unique games?

Never give up. Perhaps one day we’ll see little fellers dressed in cowboy garb keeping the prairies safe for everyone. Until then, drop your remote or game controller, step outside, and get some sun.

Talk about enough fodder for countless stories, I believe I’ve found the mother-load.

Have a great week . . .

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Don’t Climb That Tree, Mario’s Choking that Monkey Again

As I sit in my writer’s room incorporating the favorite genre of the day into my latest work (my favorites being fantasy, science fiction, dystopian and Christian fictionplaying in swamp) I stop and think how the worlds in my imagination correlate into the one in which I reside.

Think… Think… Think.

It doesn’t take long to realize that although there are similarities, for the most part, it’s like trying to drive a wooden nail through a concrete slab. So instead of taxing my depleted supply of brain cells, I switch my internal dial-up modem (to quote a cooking phrase) to a “low and slow” method of extracting information from myself. In no time, I feel better, less tense; it’s 1994 all over again. I make an executive decision if you will, to compare my childhood to my son’s childhood.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Kids of today lean more toward filling their free time with video games, smart phones, computers, and iPods and lean less toward physical activity. Everything they own has a battery. Simply plug the device in straight from the package and it’s ready to use in a few hours.

In my day, during the summer months, we would leave the house in the morning and not return until nearly dark (occasionally pillaging neighboring villages for lunch items). As far as batteries, all we had were flashlights. The batteries were not rechargeable and we liked it!

Oh, we’d receive Christmas gifts with words in bold type across the box, “batteries not included,” which meant we had the pleasure of removing our gifts from said box and watching them not work. It taught value, instilled in us the hope that we would someday own batteries and that you can make a toy last long enough to give to your kids with no appreciable wear. I can’t rightly say what else it taught, but I can tell you this–we liked it!

When my son was small (between a toddler and the age of 10) we lived in a log cabin that I built, surrounded by woods and no other houses close enough to see. We had a creek to explore, catching salamanders, frogs and the like. A playhouse, plenty of land, cleared and wooded with rolling hills and acres of flat land. My son also had a PlayStation and later on, a Sega Genesis.

Even though he had the best of both worlds, sadly he eventually chose the one that turned a normal everyday television into a cyber-world of wonder.

I, myself, spent my tween years, until I began to drive, in the swamp, fishing, hunting, swimming, catching snapping turtles, dodging snakes and frog gigging, just to name a few. Every once in a while we’d hook up with the bigger kids on a camping trip, and it was drink-til-you-puke palooza! Thank goodness those days didn’t last too long. Of course, then came the days of four wheels and chasing girls.

When I think back to my son sitting safely in our house pushing buttons in front of the television and then compare it to my jungle-Jim lifestyle as a kid, the video games they claim keep our kids from enjoying the great outdoors….Well….I guess all things in moderation.

And then again, some things are better left alone.

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