Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Do Not Change the Channel
Like many children, my grandchildren have been raised on TV and videos. Staring at a screen first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and plenty of time in between. I don't hanker for the chirp and drone of the TV in the background as company, and during visits from my son and his family, I would often turn the TV off when I found that no one was really watching it anyway. This visit things were different. I have no TV here at my new house. Yes, they came with their various small screens, but I think the ocean proved to be more mesmerizing. "Can we go back to the beach?" was the refrain of the past few days, and we grown-ups obliged.
We even took a boat ride to Anacapa, one of the The Channel Islands. A large sea lion lounged on the edge of a boat dock setting up the expectation for wildlife even before we left the harbor. Thirty minutes or so out into the ocean, the dolphins arrived. Dozens of them in the distance at first, and then scores mores, rocketing closer and closer until they were almost close enough to touch, racing along side of the boat or leaping out of the water. A couple of seals popped their heads up, too, and there were more sea lions than we could count on the rocks near Anacapa. Sea gulls hovered above, and squadrons of pelicans were so numerous they became practically became mundane.
I tried to mitigate the media's influence with my daughters, allowing only an occasional video or TV show when they were little and, starting with kindergarten they went to Waldorf School where TV, movies, videos, computers and electronic games of all kinds were discouraged altogether. I felt like I was only partially successful when I was in the thick of it all, and would have probably caved far more often if it weren't for the support of our Waldorf school community. It's so clear to me now that nature is the only real competitor for the pull of the media. And kids want to do things. Sitting means flipping a switch and waiting to be entertained. Being out in a boat on the water, chasing the waves, digging in the sand, playing outdoors, walking the dog, doing chores--there's a satisfaction to all of those things that doesn't seem to crave passiveness.
The flat blue water we were lucky to sail on yesterday was almost like a screen. And real live animals popped right out of it. I love you, Mother Nature.