Saturday, January 9, 2010

Where Have All The Picnics Gone?

I watched a program recently (I can't remember what it was or where I saw it) which has been on my mind lately. In the show there was a man being interviewed and he was talking about how when he was a kid they used to have neighborhood block parties all the time. In the evening, after school and work, entire families could be seen sitting on their porches or stoops and eating in the yards. Children played in the streets and on sidewalks and everybody knew each other. People had close neighborhoods and it was a social environment. (I am reminded that it takes a village to raise a child). Then, shortly after television was introduced to America, he said, the porches, yards and streets were empty. You could drive down the road and see the blue lights of television sets illuminating the living rooms through every ones windows.
Now we have the internet, facebook, myspace, cable TV, satellite, DVR, ipods, cell phones, texting etc. etc. All of these serve as a means of isolation. Our modern culture is one that is relatively solitary. I have friends who prefer to chat via instant messenger than to talk on the phone even. IM provides a certain sort of silent buffer and detachment in the communication.
Where have all the picnics gone? The family dinners? The weekends at the park? Board game nights? How often do you see fathers playing basketball or baseball with their children? Compare this to how often you see fathers scolding their children in Wal Mart (the cultural epicenter in every community now). Perhaps it's time we rethink living virtually and breathe a little air. Take our children outside and play with them. Read a book instead of turning on the television. Cook a meal instead of peeling back the lid on a Swanson chemical entree. Invite friends over for dinner instead of sitting on facebook...
Just a suggestion which I would do well to consider myself. Now please excuse me - I'm going to get off of this computer and go act like a husband and a father for a while!

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