August 27, 2012

Into the middle distance

There was an article in the paper on the weekend about the high incidence of short sightedness (is that the medical term? Im a social worker, science is lost on me) amongst 12 year olds. One of the researchers explained that the increase in screen time, of sitting and staring at the space in front of you, impacts on the capacity to look up and into the horizon. Literally.

This isnt a post about enforcing screen-free time in your house, or the perils of ipads, iphones and other things starting with i. I, more than most people know that without the Bananas in pyjamas app the hours between 5 and 6pm make me wish I had a job that kept me out of the house rather than at a desk in the garage.

I digress.

As a kid I wasnt someone who jumped up and got excited about the great outdoors, my sister and I spent hours watching videos over and over until we could speak the dialogue ourselves, do the dance moves and practice the final scenes of Pretty in Pink. We didnt once go camping, or hiking or anything else that required insect repellent. We were brave like that.

But we are not short sighted. Well, actually my sister is. But in the metaphorical sense we can look into the horizon and see the great things that lie ahead, our time in front of the tele, or gyrating on the floor didnt impact on our sense of adventure. I think that the key is the fact that we were never told what we could and couldnt do, we just did what felt comfortable, we knew what we were good at and we stuck to that.

Last month we took our kids to the snow for the first time, it was a long drive, some great days spent trudging across giant fields, sailing down slopes and when we were driving home an echidna waddled aross the road in front of us. When my daughter returned to school her essay about her holidays started with ‘on the holidays we went away, we ate pizza for dinner and mum and dada had a tele in their room, I wasnt allowed to watch their tele‘.

No echidna, no snow, no amazing horizons.

Just perspective. Just her.

Short sightedness be damned.

Are you raising your kids to look into the distance?

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. interesting post.. I will have to think about this and get back to you with my answer..

  2. I hope I’m raising my daughter to look into the distance… Time will tell!
    (I’m also long sighted, so if she’s anything like me, she will at least, literally, be able to look into the distance…!!)
    Great post 🙂

    • I like a literal approach to parenting Mandie.

      I think its our job to make them look beyond the tip of their nose. Thanks for commenting x

  3. I hope I am… always encouraging them to reach their potential – whatever that may be, each of them are different, with different desires, needs, and abilities……

    however, I was crushed today when I found out the eldest’s teacher has been telling him to pretend he is something he’s not so that others will play with him….. counteracts everything we’ve been trying to teach him…. frustrating…..

    • I just finished discussing with my girl about the power of looking inside a person rather than out. How insane to try to make everyone the same!

  4. Absolutely loving the metaphor in this.
    I believe that I am teaching my kids to look in to the future, but there is definitely room for improvement and to be more intentional.
    Thanks for linking today 🙂

  5. I’ve been thinking about this since I first read the post just over 24hours ago. I am at the beginning of the generations who really grew up with screen time being so relevant. I got my first iPod when I was 12 (it was released 2 months before my 11th birthday) and a mobile phone a few years later, but had TV and computer since before I remember (I’m told we got our desktop PC when I was 4). And ironically I AM shortsighted and have super cute glasses to prove it 😉

    Anyways I digress. I tried to think what I would have found important between the snow and the echidna or the shortsighted fact of the availability (or lack thereof) of TV. In my daily life now, I take pride in looking at the big picture and only today found myself snapping photos of fluffy clouds and the most colourful bird I had ever seen while on my lunch break…but, at a young age, I probably would have been more interested in if I could have watched my parents tele.

    Even though I grew up with screen time, it’s become evident moreso in recent years the importance to step back from all screens occasionally and take pride in the big picture.


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