Things Worth Keeping

 

While there are so many benefits to and efficiencies brought through the use of our screen technologies, I am often struck by the things that are being lost. Sometimes what’s going missing comes in the form of the really big and more readily identifiable as important things in our lives; obvious losses that are more easily apparent. Ones that we would want to be on the lookout for. At other times, though, it comes in the form of seemingly insignificant things and ways of being, that while subtle, actually add up to much greater losses than what we might initially imagine.

Lately for me, this reveals itself in the simple and dependable form of a dictionary.

Because I write every week, I run into my dictionary on a regular basis, along with its invaluable counterpart, the thesaurus. I know I could do all of this online. I know I could save myself “the trouble” of getting up; choosing instead to sit un-moving in front of a screen. I know that it might appear to someone else as inconvenient, too effortful or old- fashioned to do something by hand that the computer could take care of. That perhaps my choice would appear as unnecessary from a modern technological standpoint.

But in the nitty-gritty of what it feels like to be me in my life, I find that I actually do not care about any of the rational reasons around this. Why? Because I know something else to be true. And that something else is that the use of these two amazing books gives back and feeds me in ways that no device ever could.

I love the fact that I have to get up to go get either or both of these two inspiring writing companions. I love opening the door to the cabinet where they live. It feels as if I am going to visit wise and trusted friends who sit patiently waiting to offer their help as I need it. And while the distance to the cabinet is a mere few feet from where I sit, I love the chance to stand up, stretch, and move my way over to what I need; getting back into my body by getting upright, bending over, getting upright again, and then remaining standing while I look something up.

I love the way that my mind needs to change gears as I sort through the letters and their particular order to get to the specific word that I am looking for. And then once finding the word, slowing down in my thoughts and movements as I pause and ponder over what I am looking at. All of those possibilities there for the choosing. All of those definitions and interpretations that will assist me in clarifying and enriching what it is that I really want to say. While I am doing all of this, it is not lost on me that as I wonder and integrate what it is that I am reading I just feel differently than I do when I read off of a screen. Better somehow, in all ways. (Not to mention the side benefit to my eyes which naturally soften and relax back as I switch from the screen with all of its light and intensity, to the soft and powerful written word on a page.)

And then there is the love for the feel, and especially the weight, of each of the books; a kind of intimacy brought through the physical holding of the content at hand. A satisfying experience of turning pages, and a visceral reminder for me of being in a body. A shared encounter between me and this body of work. An experience of being with, as opposed to sitting in front of. An experience of a deep and quiet exchange as opposed to the feeling of being in the midst of a loud and unruly crowd.

This experience always serves to remind me that I am, in fact, embodied; immediately changing me from the one who is hunched over and robotically pecking away, to the one who stands in herself and holds something vast and significant in her hands. Weirdly enough, I even love the old book smell. I love knowing that these texts have been around for a very long time, and that other people that I am connected with have held and used these books in the past. Just as I am doing now.

Most of all, I always feel more myself when I am done. More in my body. More slowed down. More me. And sometimes I even get the added benefit of being taken on a ride, a flight of fancy, into unknown places as my eye catches other words along the way that teach, inspire, connect, inform, and sometimes even offer the most astonishing of synchronicities.

Truly, I cannot imagine writing without these books. I cannot imagine risking the loss of not only all that they give me in any given moment, but also all that they represent. As in, a most exquisite and quintessentially human experience of being alive.

Isn’t this all exactly the point here? To find ways, in our own way, to stay human in the midst of all of this? To be the ones who decide what gets to stay and what gets to go? To be the ones who get to choose what things are worth keeping? Not because they make sense through the lens of modern day ease, convenience or progress, but because they just feel good, right somehow, and are therefore, worth keeping.

And so I say, in the spirit of preserving what is truly worth keeping, isn’t being in the daily weight and feel of our own lives one of the most important things we all need to be holding onto?

Keeping The Sabbath

Intense. Strange. Overwhelming. Larger Than Life. Chaotic. Overly Dramatic. Extreme. Over The Top. Violent. Sexualized. Disturbing. Undermining. Noisy. Fast-Paced. Exhausting. And lots more of the same.

These are the words that come to my mind as someone who was recently watching TV,  while being that same someone who has lived within our home without TV for many years. These are the words and feelings of someone not used to this experience anymore. This is what I go through though each and every time I get back in front of it again; which I usually do several times a year, with the most recent experience being to watch the Patriots in a playoff game.

Each and every time I get back in front of it again, I have the same thought: What is happening to us? More to the point, what is happening for those of us who never get a break from this? Those of us left to base our thoughts and wants and beliefs on the all too often very strange images coming across a screen?

Most importantly of all, what is happening to the ones growing up now with so much intensity? The ones who will never know anything else but this. The ones believing that this is normal. And maybe even the best that they can hope for around how to spend their lives.

Contrast this to a woman I recently spoke with who keeps the Sabbath. For her this means no electronics for an entire day as part of her observances. And then there is another woman I know who is writing a book on keeping the Sabbath as an approach to living; a way to bring the mindset and practices of this sacred day into the day to day.

Sabbath is defined as a time of rest. And rest is defined as peace of mind and spirit. Is this not what we are all really looking for? More than anything else even? More than even what the almighty screens have to offer?

So how about it? What would it be like to designate a day? Or part of a day to going screen-free. You will need to give yourself enough time to stop feeling as though you are missing out on something. You will need to give yourself enough time to settle in, settle down, and forget about it. To watch how long this takes is, in and of itself, some truly valuable information. Not as a way to scold yourself, or feel bad about your choices. But instead, as an opportunity to see clearly the hold that it has on you, and then to go on to decide whether or not this is OK for you.

Get creative. Maybe your Screen Sabbath means not being in front of anything when you are with friends or loved ones. Maybe it means nothing right before bed or upon awakening. Maybe it means a TV-free night. Maybe it means you leave the emails at work for one or two designated times, and spend the rest of your day, well, working.

Any way you do it, could you imagine creating that all-important old school boundary referred to by some as the Sabbath? A regular time and space in your life when only certain things are allowed in? And as importantly, a time when many things are given no admission at all. Not because they are bad, but because every human being seeks peace of mind and spirit. And because tradition would tell us that one of the ways that we get there is to draw some very clearly defined lines in our lives around the technologies as the royal road to our own version of keeping the Sabbath.

Sent From?

 

I have come to dread receiving an email where it says at the bottom of the message, “Sent from my iPhone.” Why is that you might ask?

Because I can pretty much count on the fact that what I am receiving will be cryptic; even if a much fuller and more in depth response would be more in keeping with the level of the exchange. I can also count on the reply being hurried as the sender squeezes me into some non-existent space between all of the things they are doing and already attending to. I can also count on more mistakes, more misunderstandings, and more misreads because the person on the other end is actually not present or available enough to put their attention on what it is that I have sent them.

And most of all, I dread these four little words because I can pretty much count on feeling somehow let down, cheated even, in the interaction. I feel this way even though the responses come fast and furious. Even though they get back to me at all hours. Even though they put the “cutest and most heartfelt” of emogees in their message, along with characters from a keyboard arranged in such specific combinations as to convey their deepest or most present emotional states to me. Even though it seems like they are making me a priority by responding instantaneously from anywhere; no matter what is happening. No matter what they are already engaged in.

But I don’t feel like a priority. I feel like a bystander to a kind of obsessive preoccupation to a device where I am a means to an end. That end being that I serve as the justification for why so many of us now need to stay glued to our phones. Of course we do, we would say, because that is what is expected of us now. And so we comply, but often in the most meaningless of ways all dressed up as significant. Momentous even.

How about this? Instead of “Sent from my iPhone” we try “Sent from Me?” Maybe then we would take more ownership of our communications; valuing them in the way they deserve to be valued. Maybe we would recognize that this is an exchange between two people. Maybe the quality and the quantity of what and how we send a message would change. Maybe we could even begin to count more regularly on something truly heartfelt and significant.

Or maybe we wouldn’t even send at all. Maybe we would call. Maybe we would visit in person. Maybe we would wait until we had the time and the space to send something worthy of our relationship.

Have we forgotten what we mean to each other? Do we matter so little to one another now that we have become not much more than initiators and recipients of assembly line relating; a kind of speedy, one size fits all, generic response system where the “better and the more convenient” the technologies make our exchanges,” the worse our connections become?

I Believe

 

Recently, I attended a pickling workshop taught by a woman from Bangladesh. With her heavily accented English and her old world love for cooking and feeding people, she stands out in a world too busy and too distracted to cook, to spend time with family, or to slow down over what truly satisfies. Her matter of fact and intuitive cooking style was inspirational and authentic; devoid of pretense, expert mentality, or showmanship.

So I guess it should have come as no surprise that, though she had conveyed measurements and ingredient lists to our host who had then gone on to make up recipe sheets, what was on the paper and how she was actually cooking didn’t quite line up. It quickly became clear that she did not cook by numbers. Ever. She was just not a measuring cup, by the book, kind of woman. So much so, that it became kind of a running joke throughout the night about how often what she was actually doing differed from what was on the sheet, with at least one of us asking, “Wait, what did she just do? How much of that did she put in?”

Each time this happened she would sweetly smile and offer up a little shrug. And at one point, really more to herself than to us, she simply stated, “I believe in my hands.” My God, what a concept. What a life instruction in a world too often driven by a “paint by number” mentality; right and wrong according to some external measurement. Some thing or some one else’s version other than our own.

I believe in my hands says I believe in myself. I believe in what I sense and feel. It says I believe in my experience and I believe in something other than what the outside dictates. It says I believe in what nourishes and sustains, and that as sure as these are my hands, this is what I hold to, and this is what I find most dear.

How many of us no longer make the time to cultivate this type of knowing? A knowing, gained through and transcendent of, a specific skill set. Confidence created through the learning, the time spent, and the actual doing. A belief system and an experience of self-trust born out of learning a set of valuable life skills. An approach that truly satisfies and feeds the life of a human being. As well as those they come in contact with.

And how many of our children will never be given a chance to know this kind of experience? A way of being that can only be mastered by actually inhabiting the day to day requirements of the life of a human being. A kind of knowing that can only come from offering yourself up to something with love. A way of life that can only be had over years and years of devoting yourself to something truly worthwhile. And in the end, a way of inhabiting ourselves from the inside out; developing the kind of inner authority necessary for a life well lived and for valuable contributions made.

A kind of knowing, by the way, that will never, ever, come out of  a life squeezed off because of modern day busyness requirements or preferences for a screen.

When we are considering all that the screen technologies, along with the demands of keeping up, are offering to us and our children, can we also remember to consider what is being lost? All of the things that will never show up on a report card, which school you got into, what job you get, or what gets measured in a research study, simply because we did not know, or remember, to include them? And because there are just some things, the most important things, that can never be measured by an outside source, or ever known through our recently screen-obsessed myopic focus on what we are making most important in the living of our lives.

What do you believe in? What do we want our children to believe in? Do our day to day choices reflect these vital and necessary beliefs? Or are we living and teaching belief systems based on an inhumane pace along with lives filled to the brim with what is most decidedly not human? Not nourishing. Not the recipe for a life well-lived.

 

Why Are You Here?

 

Last semester, while my college class was in the midst of our unit on Technology and Well-Being, the students were practicing mindfulness around how they used their devices. Students were reporting back that they mindlessly, and “for no reason,” found themselves obsessively picking up their phones looking for something; though too often they felt as though they could not name exactly what it was that they were looking for. This left them spending hours and hours checking and scrolling; even though there was nothing they were particularly interested in. Even though they recognized the time that they were wasting, and all of the ways that they were not getting to what they needed to be getting to.

Or more to the point, receiving any satisfaction around what it was that felt as though it just needed to be satisfied.

One student spoke of a remedy she had devised to combat this incessant and unconscious habit. She taped a sticky note to the back of her phone with the words; “Why am I here?” It was not until recently, after recounting this tip to a new class, that the enormity of the enormity of the question really hit me.This was not merely a question posed to help someone pause in order to become more conscious of their choices around technology. Instead, this is the most fundamental, far-reaching, and essential question that any of us can ask of ourselves. Ever.

To choose to make this so visible, so front and center in the day to day, is nothing short of revolutionary in a world gone mad with forgetting the value and the importance of why it is that we are actually here. For in truth, we are talking about nothing less than this when it comes to how we are living our lives; most especially around how we are choosing to use the technologies.

Do you know why you are here? Are you the least bit interested in why you are here? Do you even know you are here at all?  

And if you are, why would you ever give that precious knowing and exploration over to a machine? Why would we ever train our children to believe that their net worth, their very reason for being here, is based on what phone they own, what picture they post, or how many levels they have reached?

Friction

 

It isn’t supposed to be like this. This isn’t supposed to be happening. This isn’t supposed to be here. It’s not supposed to be so difficult, so… How many times a day do we think or believe some version of that? Some story around how things should, or could, or must be, different. Other, than how they actually are.

If it would all just go our way immediately and seamlessly, be more to our liking, then, finally, things would be better. Easier. More of what we really deserve, need, or want.

But what if there is a reason? What if there is a point for all the stuff we do not like or want? What if we are not far-thinking enough to know that not having it as we want it, when we want it, is precisely what we need; for one reason or another. And what if, finding a way to include all of the things that we do not want, serves as an avenue for getting clearer on what we really do want, believe in, or value? What if what we want, and do not want, are two inseparable sides of a necessary coin?

Likely there is not a single one of us who has not lived through what we did not want. What we found to be harmful, disappointing, overwhelming, frustrating, offensive, and more. Something that we felt just should not be as it is. And then, how many of us, by living through what it was that we did not want, come to have a clearer picture of what we really did want. That there was a gain to be had by being in association with something that made us uncomfortable. Something we found undesirable. Impossible. Unbearable. Difficult. Inconvenient.

But now, as “luck and good fortune” would have it, it seems as though we are about to be in the historically “enviable” position of being the first humans beings on the planet to live a “friction-less existence” as promised to us by the makers of Siri, Alexa, and other technological personal assistants. It seems we are on the threshold now of an existence that will no longer require us to put up with the things in daily life that we find inconvenient, require too much of our effort, or that try our patience. That our smart new assistants will pave the way for a friction-free life. And we will finally be happy. Free of everything that disturbs.

Is this an ideal we should be aspiring to? Is this a value we want to pass onto the generations to come? And when we are considering all that we are gaining here, in the true fashion of looking at both sides of the coin, what does the other side say in terms of what we might be losing?

In discovering what is being lost, can we then go on to claim what we never want to let go of in the first place?

Of course, none of the ads for our new and improved lives with our ever-available, on-call assistants will ever mention that even with all of our new ease and conveniences, happiness remains ever more an inside job. One that is born of our own making, and one that by nature cannot be had by whisking away what disturbs. One that cannot be promised to us by another. Even if that other is as “smart” and infallible as a machine.

It is also worth considering that in modern times we are equating never having to wait to receive a purchased online good, having immediate access to any song ever written, or any question we might have be spoken aloud and answered instantaneously, with what makes for an amazing life. A redefining of our lives is occurring here through the screen technologies that presupposes life would be better if we should never want, or wait, be disturbed, or go without.

Is this true, possible, or even desirable to expect?

 

Inspired by The Abraham Teachings

We Belong To Each Other

 

I have been teaching at the college level for more than a decade. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me on so many levels. And yet, I am back wondering again, as I have been over the past couple of years, just how long I will continue in this role given the accelerating changes I am seeing in the students who are showing up before me.

Over the years, I have witnessed a noticeable decrease in attention. I have watched as they have grown increasingly sleep deprived. I have born witness to the growing attitude that they would rather be elsewhere, and doing other things; mainly, and by their own admission, wanting to get back into bed, back to a screen, and more often than not, both. I have felt and heard of their lack of interest and enthusiasm for the college experience. I have observed in the halls during the times between classes how they are more interested in being bent over a device than they are in hanging out with friends, or taking a moment for themselves.

While all of this has been, rightly so, cause for much concern, truly it pales in comparison to what I have been up against in one of my classes this semester. That being behavior that would be more “appropriate” to middle school (if that case can even be made), than it is to college seniors. I have been required daily to handle such things as students talking when another is talking. Students who are more interested in their side conversations than they are in paying attention to what is being taught. Along with students who regularly miss class, and come late without a thought to check in with me, or explain why.

As appalling as all of this has been, it gets worse. Much, much worse. A core group of students from this particularly difficult class have been regularly smirking and nudging each other, quite openly I might add, over another student in class whose very way of being they have deemed worthy of their ridicule. Their disdain and disregard for this student’s basic worth and humanness has been ongoing. Their complete lack of awareness has been chilling; right down to the fact that they do not even possess the common sense and the decency to know that if they are making a choice to demean another, they should at the very least be making attempts to hide what they are doing. That at least would be a step up for it would demonstrate that they knew what they were doing was wrong. But no such thing has been in evidence.

Despite a number of interventions on my part, this has continued.

And so last week, when it occurred again, I asked the student who was being targeted if he would do me a favor and get something from my car. I did this so that I could speak to the class without him being present. and therefore potentially, humiliated. Once he was gone, something inside of me erupted with such force that I had to pace the room and pause regularly to keep up with the intensity of what was moving through me. I remember very little of the specifics of what I said, but what I do remember was the poignancy of my hand over my heart and the message: We belong to one another. And what is being done here is unconscionable, and will not continue.

In this time of terrible and caustic lack of basic human decency and civility toward one another, whether in the real world or the virtual one, it has trickled down and is overtaking our children. What will become of us when there no longer exists a generation who has the basic foundations for how to respect another human being? A kind of respect that both includes and honors our differences. And one, by the way, that cannot be remediated through programs offered, but that must be lived, taught, and demonstrated in our homes and in our communities.

Do you know what the kicker is? The student who was being targeted, when I took him into the hall to ask him if he would do me a favor, worriedly looked at me and said, “Did I do something wrong? Am I in trouble?” I can barely think on this as the injustice around the person being harmed being the very same one wondering whether or not they have done something wrong, scrapes at me so deeply as to be almost unbearable.

Postscript: Not one of the students, directly or indirectly, involved in making fun of this student has yet to step forward. I find this to be perhaps the most troubling of all. For as human beings we are sure to make many, many mistakes with one another. We can absolutely count on that. Therefore, the true reveal of our character and mettle is born out of and demonstrates itself in our ability to self-correct when confronted with the truth of what we are doing. To re-do, re-work, and make repair for the mistakes and the atrocities we create with one another.

And yet, in this case, not one has stepped forward. Not one.

 

(Thank you to Vici for nudging me along on this one.)

Ignorance And Addiction

 

Ignorance: the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.

Addiction: compulsive need for and use of a habit forming substance.

One of the requirements of the college course that I teach is that the students must leave any and all devices in their bags in the room next door. I instituted this policy years ago for several reasons. One. As long as the devices are around, on or not, the screens and what they offer is what the students are thinking about. Two. They can be on their devices 24/7, but they can only do what we are doing in this class twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes. Three. As the grown up in the room I have determined that this is an essential boundary to create so that the learning environment is honored and protected; giving the students a chance to not only engage in a direct way with what we are doing, but as importantly these days, to know themselves separate from the pull and the distractions of the devices.

This week, a new player arrived on the scene: the iWatch.

After class, it came to my attention that two students were checking their iWatches while we were in the midst of doing a relaxation technique. As I was describing this to my husband later that day, he said to me “That is so disrespectful.”  I admit that when I was thinking about this behavior the word “disrespectful” did cross my mind, but I realized quickly that what these students had done had absolutely nothing to do with respect.

An issue of respect would have been a step up on their part. It would have implied that they knew something and could act on that knowing. It would have meant that they knew to value and esteem what was happening in the room, and could tailor their actions accordingly. It would have required that they understood how their behavior might be impacting others, even if they themselves did not value what was happening in class. It would have necessitated understanding that a teacher would expect their full attention. Most of all, it would have challenged them to see that their life was worth far more respect than many of them give themselves, and that learning a way to relax held the potential of improving their lives.

But do you know what I am seeing? I am seeing that they do not even know that it is disrespectful. Or that they do know, and that they just cannot help themselves. I do not know which is worse. Because either way, what we are talking about here is a familial and societal breakdown around the essential role we as the grown-ups are meant to play in the lives of our children. A role that requires that we both teach them what to value and respect, while protecting them from their own ignorances as well as untoward external influences.

Instead, we are failing to educate and impart the most basic and important types of knowledge and levels of awareness to our children. Simultaneously, we are cultivating, or at least colluding with, addiction.

Where have all the grown-ups gone?

FOMO

Fear of Missing Out.

In our attempts to keep up with what the technologies demand of us now, we have tapped into and amplified a kind of deep inner tension and primal human fear that seems to sit squarely on our chest, day in and day out. And it is one that we are passing on to our children. That being, the unbearable terror of being left out of the loop. Of not knowing something. Of being “excluded.”

Does it in any way strike you as ironic, or perhaps more to the point, sad, that the more ways that we can know and connect to one another, the more intense the fear of missing something, or of being left out has grown? With our virtually infinite number of ways to gain access to anything and anyone now, there is still the ever-present fear that, if even for a moment you step away from your device, don’t bring it with you, or god forbid don’t answer or check something that comes in, that you will miss something that you cannot afford to miss.

Can you allow yourself to take a step back and feel all the way through you the intensity and the burden that this places on a life? And for a moment, can you imagine the enormous, indelible, and fear-based imprint this is leaving on our children? The anxiety, the vigilance, and the imprisonment that this generates within their growing psyches? And can you extrapolate out to how all of this leads them to believe that there is one recourse, and one recourse only; remain on guard and ever-attached to the demands of the machines. Always. No matter the cost.

No matter the way that it interferes with their ability to think their own thoughts, or to organize their time as they see fit. No matter how this interferes with sleep or with the experience of spending uninterrupted time with another. No matter the way that they, like Pavlov’s dogs, are continually at the beck and call of pings as opposed to the call of their own soul.

Think this one through. Or better yet, as an experiment, step away for a time, and see what happens. And if this feels too extreme for you, begin by asking yourself one simple question; “Realistically speaking, what am I most likely to miss out on, the vast majority of the time?” Another political rant? Another recycling of the same old themes in the news hopped up to make them seem as if they are new and worthy of your attention? A cute emogee? A post about how great and care-free another person’s life is, or how “amazing” their child is? A string of time-wasting, inane, throw-away, or insecure texts? A ridiculous picture or another stupid video that you just have to see, right now? A tweet from someone that you do not, and will not, ever know?

It just goes on and on.

It is time to get real with this one. Especially for our children. Otherwise, both they and we are doomed to suffer through the most obscene, asinine, time-consuming, and soul-sucking experiences that have ever been available to human beings. All of this happening every single day of our lives, and all in the service of never, ever, missing out on a single thing.

Interestingly enough, and despite all of our best efforts to keep up with the output being generated through the screens, we may just find that, in the end, we have indeed missed out. That we were, in fact, justified in our fears around missing something. Only, it will not be what we imagined. It will be something far worse.

 


 

 

Spaciousness

 

The space to do nothing. The space to be bored. The space to learn about yourself and the world without time lines, marketing agendas, or too much outside influence. The space to be on your own or with others without a lot to do. The space to get comfortable with yourself, by yourself, without the need for externals to make you OK. The space to feel. The space to just be. As is.

This is one face of childhood. And it is life-giving in its offerings of inner resourcefulness, ease within your own skin, the ability to know your own mind, the capacity to be with the up and down rhythms of Life, and so much more.

This is not an easy thing to find in a world that is suspicious and intolerant of nothing to do. Or having too much time on your hands. Or allowing for quiet. Or for welcoming stillness and solitude. Not to mention the epidemic of fear around feeling. Yet, when I look back and remember the unfounded concerns that I had that my children were not scheduled into enough things, or were missing out because they were not on Facebook, or learning about the world through the computer, I would tell that young mama, and all the ones like her, to rest easy. Why? Because this older and more seasoned mother knows some things as reflected by the way her young adult children are moving through the world now. The ways that they can keep their own company and be with life without trying to get out of it. The ways that they do not make themselves so busy that they cannot feel what they are feeling, or know what they are knowing.

In a week where I read that almost half of our children now will suffer from a mood disorder, a behavioral problem, or substance abuse, I am struck by the contradiction in this statistic with the conversation I had with one of my own children currently in the midst of a difficult romantic break-up. In our conversation, they spoke over and over again of letting themselves be with the process, giving themselves time, letting the hurt be there while knowing simultaneously that some day it would end. In sum, an awareness of, and an ability to be with, what is difficult. Space created to be with and feel what is there without looking for an escape route.

We live in a time when our children never have to feel anything they do not want to, nor develop a skill set to be with those very same unwanted feelings. In a time where because of the seemingly infinite ways of the modern world to keep them busy, entertained, distracted and checked out, they never get the experience of spaciousness in childhood. And it shows.

It shows in how they are more interested in what is coming across a screen than what is right in front of them. It shows in all of their fears and in their inability to be with themselves.Through the devices, there are far too many ways for our children to numb out and distract themselves when they hurt, bored, lonely, sad, angry, or disappointed. There are far too many avenues to never have to feel, or be alone, or to come up against yourself in any kind of a meaningful way.

Does it strike you at all that in a time of increased exposure to screens and all that that opens our children to, we have increasing levels of mood disorders, addiction, and behavioral problems? And while we can never point the finger at any one thing, do you see the possibility of a connection here?

What do you know to be true around the ways that the screens occupy, medicate, distract, and distort the beauty, necessity, and innocence of childhood itself?

As parents, if we can give our children a foundation of spaciousness, allowing for their childhood life to organically reveal and resolve itself, we give them the gift of knowing not only that feelings come and go, but that they have the capacity to meet what comes their way. This will never be possible in a world where keeping your children busy, over-scheduled, and glued to a screen is often seen as the best way to prepare them for life.