keeping up with the Joneses is so futile specially when sometimes we don’t even know what it is that the Joneses are upto….
In this new age world where we run marathons every weekend and start/support a change.org campaign every Tuesday and Thursday it’s pretty difficult to say who we really are. We’ve stopped running because it makes us feel good now we run because there’s a cause and a medal with lots of pictures and social media credibility at the finish line. We’ve stopped having opinions because we truly understand and believe in a certain point of view we are supporters of a point of view because it’s the populist opinion. We believe almost religiously that providing for our children now includes a car with a driver and an iPad. We know that they will have no future if we do not send them on excursions to far off lands because all popular media has incessantly and untiringly drilled into us that traveling is the best education we can give ourselves or our children. Conveniently in this mirage we omit the value that genuine conversation and stimulative discussion can add to a child’s overall development. Today if we are advised to spend quality time with a child the instant light bulb that goes off in our collective minds is a visit to the local theme park, a couple of hours at the gaming arena or a pizza party…. when did quality time turn into such complex decisions about logistics, toppings and combinations? And in all the associated noise where did the conversation go?
Quality time with children need not be such an “air quotes” thing. Have we as grown ups lost track of what we started running for? When a mom says “oh my God taking a walk with them every evening is impossible. When do I fit it in” or “checking that they have packed their bags for the next day is so difficult after I come back from work, where’s the time?” one feels sad for the family. What are you running for, how much will be enough and will you ever be able to stop and smell the roses? By the time these parents realize the children would have flown the nest. One would be in Vancouver another in Victoria and you would be stuck to your hamster wheel now looking forward to meeting them on vacations running ever so much more faster just so you can fund the distance.
Every parent has his or her justification for the iPad they got the child “oh but every child out there has one”, “they need to be able to understand and leverage technology”, “we can afford it so why shouldn’t our kid have the best?”. Just to enlighten these and similar excuse making parents Steve Jobs, the man behind the iEverything, didn’t encourage his children use the iPad or any other gadget infact he actively discouraged the use of technology instead choosing to focus on discussions about books (which the kids read in paper format not on a kindle) and history at dinners every evening. Similarly Bill Gates the founder of MicroSoft did not allow his children access to mobile phones till they were 14 or older, access to gadgets was limited. What was it that made these two and many more technology leaders refrain from giving their children access to devices and the Internet? Access that the middle class today is breaking it’s backs to provide for their own children and actively competing with each other on the version/capabilities and pricing of the devices that they provide the children with? The doyens of the IT industry believed that actual real conversations with their children about books about history were more important than the children being able to operate the iPad! That’s confusing to say the least. Unless you scratch the surface and discover that these industry leaders saw how important it is to be able to live normal unwired uncluttered lives for human beings. They understood that using a device is something that can be learnt at any point in time what is more important is a connect with reality. Communicating face to face without losing out on the human emotions associated with such a conversation is what is important. In our race to go Digital we have become so plastic that now if you by any chance throw a bunch of people together in a room they wouldn’t know what to do other than whip out their phones and start talking to…. mayeb even each other over WhatApp.
(this is work in progress…. I will complete it one of these days)