I am on a walk through the woods. I take a familiar path trying to do the unfamiliar. I am attempting to see and listen in a new way. A way that does not put me in the equation. A way where I am aware of what is around me without making it have to do with me. It is difficult.

Even in the naming of the birds, trees and other life I pass is a kind of claiming on my part, another way of making it have to do with me. Naming is a way of making other life belong to me somehow through my definitions and interpretations, believing I could know that life because I think I know what it is called. While the naming of the world around us serves an important function, it also has its serious drawbacks. As in assumptions we  make. As in believing we have the whole story. As in believing we give something its place. As in believing somehow it belongs to you.

Everything does not have to do with us. The world is not here to be at our beck and call. It is not here to deliver to us our version of how it should be. Other forms of life are sovereign unto themselves, separate from what we want them to be. What would our lives be like if we could simultaneously hold and respect the different forms life takes while knowing on a deeper level that there is Something unifying us all? Or how about on a purely practical level–What would it be like to know that what others do has got absolutely nothing to do with us?

Left To Their Own Devices


We need heroes and heroines right now. More than ever. Why? Because this culture does not value or protect its young. This culture does not properly grasp the protected status children require to grow naturally, healthfully and well. It is evident in how many of them go hungry. It is noticeable in how many of our young people suffer from disorders that have toxic environmental links perpetrated by corporations seeking to make a profit. It is evident in the way our children’s childhoods have become overly commercialized and consumer-oriented. It is apparent and appalling in the way we sanction food that is grown with toxins, harmful modifications and refined to the point of being dangerous. It is manifest in how many of our children are on unprecedented amounts of medications. It displays itself in how many of our kids are depressed, stressed and anxious. It shows in how little we pay and respect teachers, and how little real progress ever happens in education. It reveals itself around the multi-billion dollar amounts always available for the defense budget, while schools continue to be level-funded year after year despite increases to the cost of living, and to the growing demands that schools must meet in terms of student needs. And it is palpable in the way we allow our children to see things and spend their days in ways that rob them of their innocence, vitality and inner freedom.

I have yet to meet a parent who in some way is not worried about how the technologies are using our children. Why is it then that we are not organizing around this one? Why are we not refusing to allow this to continue? Why are we not carving out the time and the actions necessary to address our concerns? We are so schizophrenic around the technologies in the truest sense of that word, i.e. to be of a split mind. Through one side of our mouths we lament what is happening, and through the other side we live as if our devices are valued family members who get the preferred seat at the table. Or worse yet, we allow that family member that we do not want around our kids, to live with us nonetheless.

Likely, parents everywhere, and at all times, have struggled with some version of their children getting into something, or being exposed to, what we would most want them to avoid.  Recently though, the reality of our children getting involved with the wrong thing has exponentially exploded with the advent of the screen technologies. This is alarmingly exemplified by the story I just heard of local teenage girls posting nude pictures of themselves on Instagram, all in the name of body image empowerment. Funny thing is though, as the story goes, only the good-looking girls with the “good bodies” are doing this. And oh, by the way, the political statement is entitled The 100 Day ‘Ho Down. In case you didn’t catch it, it is ‘Ho as in  WHORE. So, young women are exploiting their bodies, referring to themselves as whores, all the while believing that they are taking back the night with this one. Will this be enough for us as the grown-ups to weigh in on? We can refuse to address this in any kind of a meaningful way, but the truth is, it will go on; with or without us.



I am sometimes asked how it is that I see what I see in terms of the impact that technology is having on us and our children. For the longest time, I did not know. Then, I began writing a book on the downside of technology and kids and found my answer. Here it is from me to you.

The reason I see what I do in terms of the pervasive and all encompassing damage technology’s presence is having on our families, most especially on our children, is because I grew up in addiction. It was what I smelled, tasted, touched and walked through each and every day that I lived with my family of origin. It was the sea that I swam in. I did not question it or think it out of the ordinary. Disconnection and dissatisfaction felt normal to me. It felt like home. 

As a child, I lived with the constant and unspoken reality that something was always in between me and my parents. Something was always in between me and my siblings. And something was always in between me and myself. The long arm of addiction insinuated itself into every single aspect of our lives from what time dinner was, to how we socialized, to what we believed as children, to how we were with one another, and to how we felt about ourselves. Alcohol was more important than people’s feelings. It was more important than love and connection. It was more important than health and well-being. It was more important than honesty and trust. And it was more important than me. Something non-human told us who we were and how to act. It told us how to be with one another and what to value. Sound familiar?

Like any child, I needed my parents to be available to me. And because they were not, I worked very hard to get them to pay attention, especially my father. I tried to catch his eye. And because what I did never worked, I kept trying harder and harder believing that it was my fault. Believing that if I could just do or say the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way then he would want me. Deep down it felt like there just had to be some dark and awful thing about me that was keeping him from wanting a better connection with me. Because he was my father, I believed him when  he told me I was needing and wanting the wrong things. He just had to be right. He was the parent, the one in charge. The one who knew how things worked in the world. The one who was supposed to know how to pay attention to their own kid as well as the one who was never supposed to be the source of their sadness and disconnect. Throughout it all, I learned how to do for myself, how to accept harmful and sub par substitutes and how to go without what I needed most because what I really needed was not available.

Back then, when I was sensing and saying that something was off, nobody wanted to hear it. For them to hear would be to admit that there was a problem, and to admit that there was a problem would be to recognize that something must change, and then actually change. Back then, I was the one saying something is wrong, terribly, terribly wrong. And I am saying it again here. Now. Please God that we do not have to hit a collective bottom before we choose to recognize what is happening to us. Please God that we have a low tolerance for allowing machines to get in between us and our loved ones. Please God that we do not leave our children believing that an inanimate object is more important than them. Back then I was an irritant, a “trouble-maker.” Today, I say, “yes,” it is irritating and inconvenient to hear that the thing that you have made your god is squeezing the life out of you and your family.  As bothersome and upsetting as this may be to hear and to recognize, it is still true nonetheless.

Looking back, I see that worse than any emotional neglect I experienced, were the daily choices I had to make; go with the program and have a father who tolerated me being around, or break from what I was being sold and be true to myself, and therefore left without. This left a deep and dangerous imprint on me, so soul-crushing that I still wonder how it was that I did not wind up going over some edge from which there was no coming back. I hated myself when I looked through the eyes of addiction. And for the longest of times, I did not trust myself. In the end, though, I have come to make my peace with it all. Even though it is deeply unsettling for me to be at odds with others, to go against the flow, there is now something in me that is willing to disturb dysfunction and disconnection despite my discomfort. And it all started with having my children and wanting something more for them. Could we not all find this within ourselves? Could we not all refuse to engage with what is inhumane, addictive and life-depleting? Could we not do this for our children?

Children are so astute and so very, very intuitive. In the beginning, they are more like animals; sensing and feeling their way into the world. They read what is beneath the surface. They respond to what is beyond words. When they are young, you cannot con them. It is only as they get older and figure out that if they want your love, they must tow the party line or risk falling out of favor with you, that they begin to lose their knowledge of what they need from you. Abandonment is a loss they cannot bear. Because of this, they will learn to be OK with very little if very little is what we offer them. It does not mean that this is what they want or need. It means that they are willing to make a deal. A compromise. And the compromise will be them; their hearts, their spirits, their lives. It is by our hand that we force this compromise on them when we live as if the screens are the most important thing in life. We do not do this with our words, but through our daily choices and where we place our attentions.