To borrow a line in a movie “You’ve Got Mail”, Kathleen Kelly tells Joe Fox: “You with your theme park, multi-level, homogenize-the-world mochaccino land. You’ve deluded yourself into thinking that you’re some sort of benefactor, to the masses.” Doesn’t it seem like the whole world is like this giant Theme Park? Kids today are bombarded by the relentless media. Social media, gaming, iPhone, iPad, every place has to have Wi-Fi so we can plugin. I remember a simpler time when life seemed more real.
Unplug and Still Have Fun
Today life is complicated, much more so than when I grew up in the 1970’s. I still remember how I would roam the woods and fields with my friends and camp out at night with just a sleeping bag and a campfire. Hunting, fishing and hiking was just part of life. We played outside, football, baseball, tag, and hide and seek. The only time I would come inside was when mom called us for dinner. (It was not on our mobile phones either)
So for kids today to be unplugged for a few days on a camping trip may be adventurous in itself. You are able to teach them (possibly, with a good amount of patience) that you can still have fun without being in front of a monitor or screen. Enjoy seeing nature, talk to people, talk to family, play, swim, hike or snorkel and feel the reality.
Simplify Your Life
When my wife was a teenager she spent 2 summers in Colombia. She was from a middle class family from Maryland. She tells me stories of her trips to Colombia and of how they didn’t have running water in the house all the time because it had not rained or the water pressure was too low to go up the hill where the house was. So she and the other children had to go to the bottom of the hill and fetch water in buckets to fill up a 55 gallon drum located inside the house that they could use to flush toilets, bathe, cook and clean with. She looks back on this as kind of an adventure, but that is how many people in other parts of the world live today and then. It is not an adventure to them it is just life.
Today in western lands we are spoiled with so many modern conveniences. So as we set out on a camping trip and we have to bring in water, we either buy or gather firewood, cook over a fire, with no electricity we are kind of “roughing it” so we either improvise different methods to take care of necessities or do without. Therefore we have an opportunity to teach our children empathy for the many people that live like this from day-to-day not because it is an adventure.
What Creation Teaches Us About Our Creator
Today our kids are taught to disregard a Creator, religion is made fun of. Secularism and technology are what is held as important and meaningful. However, being outdoors in the elements seeing animals, insects, birds, animals, fish as well as the stars and moon without being hindered by the lights of the city, gives a us calm peaceful feeling and helps us reflect on the Creator of these things. And so, we can use this as a teaching moment to help our kids to reflect on our Creator that lovingly made all of these things for us. We can teach them about the natural beauty and ecosystems that keep our earth in fine tune and of course how thoughtful and loving our Creator is that produced these miraculous things for us.
Even though you may think your kids may totally hate the idea of becoming unplugged for a few days, with patience and planning we can give our children memories that will last a lifetime as well as teaching life lessons that will help shape their lives and values.