Children are losing their imaginations to computers, “Nature Deprived Syndrome”

I have spent the last half hour sitting on my deck steeping myself in the wonders of Spring. “At Last”, a song made famous by Etta James, should be played on the New England airwaves hourly. I have waited, as I’m sure many others have who live in this neck of the woods, for the snow, ice, and bitter cold to finally give us a respite. I was beginning to think I should build an Igloo. It has been an unusually long and tough winter.

This time of year is especially exciting for me because I love my garden, and all it has to offer. As each new plant inches its way out of its’ winter hibernation, I feel a sense of awe and delight. This is not a new feeling, as I have felt this way since I was a child. The outdoors always was magical for me and a great deal of my playmates. We would spend hours trekking through lots seeking hidden treasures and building forts out of old lumber, branches and twigs. Our greatest moments were sitting, huddled inside our fort telling scary stories or pretending that we were part of a medieval kingdom. I always wanted to be the queen, but more than not I was relegated to being a Lady in Waiting or a Knight, which was fine with me. If I was the Lady in Waiting I would wrap myself in my mothers’ old lace curtains and weave some flowers for a headdress. As a Knight I fashioned a bow and arrow out of twigs and put my grandmothers’ colander on my head. I believe that probably was the origins of the career I have today. The ability to simply use my innate creativity and have so much fun doing it was like taking a class in improvisation.

I feel badly for children today since I don’t think many of them are going to have these types of experiences. I hardly ever see kids playing outside anymore. The American Pediatric Society has said that children are starting to lose their ability to imagine in lieu of all the computer games that do it for them. They have even coined a new disorder “Nature Deprived Syndrome” since so many kids don’t get to immerse themselves in the joys that the outdoors can offer them. They also see this as one of the reasons there are so many obese children. DUH! Parents have been given so many fear messages by the media about so many things, that going outside has become something to be feared.  I know there are still parents who have instilled a love of nature in their children, but for those who haven’t, please give your kids the opportunity to enjoy and respect what is possibly the greatest gift we’ve been given.

Words to Live By!

Too often we focus on what’s wrong with people, not what’s right. Our absence of heroic, virtuous individuals is a telltale sign of a culture that values perversity rather than morality. The reality shows featuring dysfunctional individuals is fast becoming the entertainment of choice.

What saddens me is that we are not acknowledging people who have been tested beyond anything most of us can imagine. I’ll never forget one man in particular who had Lou Gehrig’s disease. Two aids by his side, he sat in his wheelchair and smiled at me throughout my presentation. Afterwards his wife, who helped interpret for him, told me how happy he was to have attended my lecture and how blessed he felt to have his wife and others help him in his hour of need. Driving home, I had flashbacks of incidents in my life where I turned a hangnail or a traffic jam into a catastrophe. I know I’m not the only one that does this; otherwise, I wouldn’t be in business. What meeting this man taught me was that even in the most dire circumstances we can find “the bless in the mess”. It sounds rather esoteric, but there are many incidents that can be reframe into something that becomes easier to tolerate by making small mind shifts.

Our perceptions create our realty, and some of us seem to want to make a situation much worse than it is, because we’re hooked on drama. Consider the simple act of waiting in a line. It can be frustrating, but it really isn’t a death sentence. According to a study done at MIT, you’re going to spend three years of your life waiting in lines. Why make it feel like prison? You might want to consider the fact that while you’re waiting you are literally at rest. Nothing to do and no one around to make demands on you. Of course that means you have to stay off your cell phone. No one really needs to know you’re in line. They need a break to.

Life will consistently challenge you in many different ways. If you develop skills to handle the inevitable glitches, you will gain tremendous resiliency. The title of author Richard Carlson’s book says it best, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff” Words to live by!