Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Observation

When did it become necessary for kids to be constantly entertained?
Game consoles are now available in many cars. Heaven forbid that kids have to look out the window during a trip. Now they can watch videos or play games without ever having to see the beautiful world around them.
Hand held game consoles are common place. Sometimes it seems as if many kids have either a cell phone or a game console in their hands almost every hour of the day.

Which brings me to my observation...

Some background first:
The monthly Pasadena primitive skills gatherings that I participate in are amazing collections of knowledge and fun things to do. At these gatherings you can learn how to make bows, arrows, string and rope, work with gourds, learn how to make stone arrowheads, make fire with sticks, slings, bolos, bowstrings, do leatherwork... and the list goes on. If there is something you're interested in there is probably someone who can get you started on it or at least cheer you on. People pay big bucks for the type of knowledge we freely pass out at Pasadena. In fact, a national specialty woodworking store has bowmaking classes available for $395. The information taught in the class is identical to what may be found for free at Pasadena.

That all sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
Kind of exciting...
Different from your regularly scheduled Sunday...

So tell me, why would a kid choose to sit at a picnic bench and play with his hand held game console instead of participating in the fun?
All this wonderful stuff is going on around him, other kids are shooting their bows at the target bales, and yet he sits there with a glazed look on his face as he watches tiny figures on the game screen.

I don't even know what to type, I'm so baffled.

Happy archery...?


Anonymous said...

Do you remember that 1960 movie "The Time Machine" based on the HG Wells story? Remember the Eloi and the Morlocks? The Eloi sat on their keesters and did nothing all day and wouldn't even get up off their fourth points of contact to save one of their own from drowning? And the Morlocks lived underground and ran machinery and fed the Eloi. Because the Morlocks would sound an air raid siren and, like sheep, the Eloi would walk to the Morlocks' underground bunkers---because the Morlocks were EATING the Eloi.

Well, our society thinks that they're the Morlocks because they've got all these nifty electronic gadgets. But they're not. They're the Eloi. The real Morlocks keep them pacified with electronics so they can feed off of them, figuratively speaking.

Guy Taylor said...

I'm sure that eash successive genaration thinks the one following is faulty in some way, but I just don't see the level of activity or interest in things that I used to. I don't see kids talking about how the fishing is, I see them talking about the latest WoW quest. I don't see people watching the world around them, I see them updating their Facebook page.
It just seems really sad and I wonder what we are losing in our knowledge.

Anonymous said...

And that was also one of the points in The Time Machine. The Eloi had books, but they had crumbled into dust and no one read them. I think we're entering into a unique version of the Dark Ages. Lots of talking going on (texting, etc.) but nothing of substance being said. Lots of technology, but none of it being used for the betterment of mankind (it has to have a profit margin) or the planet. Knowledge and skills are being lost and people are forgetting history. Almost half the people in the United States cannot find Afghanistan on a map---a country we've been at war with for 11 years now; a war longer than Vietnam. Almost half the people in the U.S. can't find Iraq on a map---a country we've been at war with since 2003 and suffered the highest casualties since Vietnam. BUT! These people can tell you what Brittany Spears has been up to last week, or what Kate Gosselin has been doing, or whatever else some celebrity is doing. These people are the Eloi.

Compound Bows said...

Great observation, and I would like to agree on some points. Brings me back to my childhood.

Guy Taylor said...

Compound Bows, I value comments and input from readers of my blog.
I don't ask that folks sign up for an ID before they leave a comment.
However, when an individual leaves a very short comment and the have gone to the trouble to link their name to a shop selling compound bows, I wonder if they may simply be spamming the blog?

I'd rather not go to moderating comments as it strikes me as being too big brotherish. But if this happens often enough I will.

Rekon said...

I think part of the problem is that mastery of physical skills takes quite a bit more effort than mastery of simple games on a handheld console. Another part is that physical skills are practiced in public. Kids crave mastery, but they hate looking foolish, and they can practice their gaming 'skills' in relative private, where their missing the target when they shoot is there for all to see.

That said, however, I must add that in my experience kids really do love archery far more than most typical sports... especially kids who aren't 'jocks' and have less experience with success in physical endeavors. There's nothing like the feeling of satisfaction they get from actually hitting the target.

Guy Taylor said...

Rekon, thank you very much for weighing in on this. Your experience as an educator and as a mother gives you insight in this area that I lack.
Given what you have written, perhaps I should be a bit kinder to the little rugrat.

No, I'm not a grumpy old man... whatever gave you that idea? :)

Lady Arwen of the Silver Rose said...

That Time Machine comment really has me thinking. As we tune out the world around us do we become sitting ducks for those are still practicing physical mastery?

goslow said...

I recently posted a similar comment on my blog and didn't actual reference "The Time Machine" but had a simialr observation that todays society has bought into what "They" are selling and personally feel that if we don't try to turn back time and learn the old ways and old skills we will be lost drones/slaves to a few rich wealthy reapers of what we harvest for them so to speak. Not being able to make any decision because honestly we want know how to.