Friday, January 20, 2017

Are You Not Entertained?

   There are so many memes cycling around regarding the difference between my generation born in the 80's and the Millennials, the summary of it all is this: Technology has made us expect to be entertained. No longer are we responsible for our own fun. Children's toys are specific, automated sets meant to play a certain thing, shown a certain way, and one must have the entire set to fulfill this pageantry. Television is no longer a couple hours of cartoons Saturday mornings, but rather a plethora of all day, every day children's programming and advertising. Children's television has become its own industry.
   Speaking of industry, the IT world has positively exploded in the last 20 years. It was a really big deal when my family got a computer and dial-up AOL when I was in eighth grade. Now it's seen as a right the government must provide if a family cannot afford such luxury. Enter the world of tablets, smart phones, and more hand-held technologies, and most children are rarely required to go a day without spending a significant amount of time gazing into the glow of a distraction device. Mine included!!! Truly, my children are no better. Granted, we have no cable. No unmonitored screen time, but when my kids complete a task they expect that they're then entitled to time on a device, whether it be the laptop(educational games or not, they're games), the Kindle, Minecraft, or Netflix. They automatically consider it a punishment when they're not allowed what amounts to cumulative hours spent between these various ways each day.
   Why are we as a species so engrossed in being entertained? We spend trillions of dollars in this country alone on things with no value but entertainment. We have televisions and computer screens in every room to distract us from our true purpose there, and we cannot even go to the bathroom without taking our smart phones with us to keep us busy. Why do we as a culture insist on being entertained, constantly distracted from our purpose every waking moment? We ignore those around us in favor of screens, trading relationships and human interaction for constant entertainment, faceless communication, and distraction.
   This is another facet of life in which I am aiming to be more intentional. Leaving my phone on the charger but within earshot. Taking a book to the bathroom- OR NOTHING- instead of my phone. Letting there be silence in the air instead of some appliance playing Netflix or another form of entertainment that I am hearing but not really listening to. Why must we always be entertained? How have we fallen so far from personal responsibility that we cannot even entertain ourselves? We as a culture- with little exemption but the likes of farmers, extreme conservatives, and off-grid homesteaders- feel so entitled to this constant stream of distracted existence. For me and my family, I'm try to break out of our rut. Take responsibility for every moment of our time, even when that is rest and rejuvenation.  Finding the purpose in every day.

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