The Electronic Illusion


When I grew up, There was no internet, there were no cell phones–not even a Sony Walkman (look that up kids and Gens X and Y). We listened to the radio, played cassette tapes, 8-track tapes and phonographs (by my time we had 33 1/3 and 45 speed. 78 was long gone.

We played board games, learned to whittle with our very own pocket knives and how to handle a firearm in our backyards and the classes the state ran for hunter’s education. We read books (they were made of paper, some with leather covers–the big bucks and very fancy) and we wrote letters. With pens. Or pencils–we didn’t judge. But the note lasted far longer if you used a pen. Cursive writing was what was used for formal occasions, and writing a letter was always formal. We exposed our true feelings in them, gave critiques, sent encouragement, love and good will to family, friends, loved ones who were sick or ailing. We sent birthday notes inside the cards. Wrote our children notes for their lunch boxes. Made Cootie Catchers–our first attempts at origami.

We were kicked outside-even in the rain if it might clear up, but not when there was the danger of lightning. We got kicked outside in all four seasons. If it was winter, we got snow suits, snow boots with bread bags over our 2 pairs of socks to keep our feet actually dry. If it was summer, we got sent out and the door got locked behind us. we were allowed in only a certain amount of times to use the bathroom and back out we went.  Spring and fall we got much the same treatment, but there were sweaters or sweatshirts involved. Which worked great to collect booty like lichen, flowers, leaves, and rocks. We were treasure hunters and we were amazing. We climbed to the highest limb we could–like squirrels launching ourselves up the trees.

When we went to school–we listened. We learned the difference between they’re, there and their. We comprehended why and where we would use your and you’re, and we learned what a conjunction actually is. Our English teachers scared it into us. We learned what the difference between a semi-colon, colon, and a comma was, and when to use each of them. Gerunds, diagramming sentences, past and present participle–we got it all or we did not pass. (Kind of like Gandalf, only our English teachers were actually scary!!!)

When it came to math, we learned it all–how to actually add, subtract, multiply and divide. Order of operations, geometry, algebra, and some of us learned calculus. (I am not a math fan. I stopped at Algebra 2, thank you.) Now we have “common core math”, which I believe is Martian for “this is the most fucked up way we can devise to control your children’s brains because after an hour or 8 trying to figure this shit out your child’s brain will melt out of his ears.”  It may be Swahili, or Sanskrit, as well, but I am really not sure. I do know that today’s youth and most folks under about 25-30 cannot make change properly and rely entirely on a cash register to tell them what to do. This is so very sad.

It is time to kick off our shoes, and walk outside–in the grass, in the sand and dirt, and in the mud in the rain. Squish your toes through the different surfaces with your eyes shut and feel the glory that God has given us to enjoy each day.


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