08 April, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now?

I cleaned out a couple of drawers and a cabinet today; that's not what this blog post is about, but I always feel good when I can report that I am winning waging the a war against clutter. Okay, well, indirectly the cleaning spurt leads to the subject matter of this post. These are my own earbuds, discovered amidst a tangle of cords for various electronic devices we no longer own. I am happy for the rediscovery; although, I admit, I hardly ever use these. Anyway... back to the subject. Yesterday I was running  errands in the late afternoon and had the misfortune of being behind a school bus as it stopped at each and every side street and driveway. The students disembarking appeared to be middle school age. Without exception, each student stepped off the bus loaded down with a backpack the size of a Mini Cooper, full of books I would assume, with earbuds in their ears. Not one student was in conversation with another. Some of these bus stops let off six or seven 12-14 year olds at one time, each one was in their own little world. Plugged in, music or phone, straight to individual brains. I wondered, through this observation, when interpersonal skills are learned. I can't help but think that this isn't a good thing; not for them now, not for their futures. Am I wrong? Maybe I am. Perhaps I am way off base. By virtue of the fact that I am blogging about this to readers whom I may never meet, or speak with in person, I am likely guilty of the same false reality. I can't help but think, though, that if the students whom I observed yesterday pulled out those earbuds, lifted their faces from the ground and actually SPOKE with their neighbors and fellow students (let alone listened to the birds singing and happy sounds of children running and playing around them) how much richer their daily lives would be.
Life is Good!

9 comments:

stitchinpenny said...

No, I do not know you in a traditional sense. I have watched as you have made important things, celebrated with your family and shared some things in your life that you hold dear. The kids with the earphones may or may not be sharing in a similar way, but many are not. These others could be watching videos that someone they care nothing about made about a subject they don't know anything about. They are forming opinions and values based on these videos. Many of these children are influenced to do things they wouldn't even be exposed to in their homes and neighborhoods. It is a challenge for parents that I can not imagine. Sex and violence are not uncommon and many are degrading to weaker people. Bullying in a funny format. Sterile so you are desensitized. You don't know the people so calling them fat, stupid, and other derogatory names is funny and there is no price and those people aren't real. Later it becomes easier. My great nephew fell into that trap and ended up being in big trouble with his dad. The phone and his computer were taken away and he had to apologize in front of all the people he was trying to impress. My nephew also apologized for allowing it to happen while warning the other parents. The subject of weight will never be looked at the same way by the group. Luckily a bus driver took a stand and called my nephew.

Janet O. said...

It is very concerning to me, as well. Haven't had young people in my home for about a decade now, but when I did NO ONE in my home was allowed to wear two earbuds. If they were listening to music, they could put one ear bud in, but the other ear needed to be able to hear their family around them and respond if they were spoken to. Same rule applied when traveling in a vehicle. No one could zone out in their own little world. We listened to music together and read books aloud and played games and conversed. I realize that the world changes and it is getting harder and harder to control the environment in which our children are growing up, but I think it is so important to try--for the sake of our families and our society!

Sherrill said...

And everyone with their faces in their phones makes for no interaction at all. What really baffles me are people sitting in the same room texting each other rather than speaking to each other.

Elita@Busy Needle Quilting said...

As I have 2 teenage boys at home & 1 teenage girl at uni, I wonder about this a lot myself. I make a conscious effort to engage my kids when we're together. They are often studying hard and concentrating on something or simply just vegging out. I figure that they spend a large portion of their days having to pay attention in very brain-taxing academic situations and this is their way to focus or just to relax for a little while. Much more is expected of them, way more than when I was their age. We eat together, at the table, no electronics allowed, and talk. ENGAGE. And I've seen them when they are with friends & they think I'm not looking. The electronics are out,usually sharing some funny video. But they also have the practice to put all the electronics in the middle of the table. My daughter did go to a sleepover where many of the girls were texting others in the same room. She didn't hang out with them much after that. She also wants to engage, have discussions, probe deeply moving questions with others. My point is that this is only a slice of the day. They aren't all growing up to be zoned out zombies. I can only be the example, to keep offering alternatives to help them see all the different ways to absorb the beauty around them. I think they're getting the hang of it. ;-)

Synthia said...

I so agree with you!!!

Deb said...

I agree Deb...in my profession, my passengers never take their eyes off their portable electronic devices,or remove their earbuds. They have retreated to their own world.

Quiltdivajulie said...

As a bus riding student who was teased (today it would be labeled bullied), I would happily have retreated into my own little world where I couldn't hear the bigger kids taunting . . . I can only hope the current generation is listening to their devices and not hiding from the rest of their peers.

45th Parallel Quilter said...

We didn't have all the devices kids have today while I was growing up. Imagine a transistor radio ... if people can even remember them. At night my sister and I (we shared a room) would listen for the top three "rock & roll" tunes of the day before we went to sleep. If my parents heard more than that the radio was confiscated. We ate dinner as a family and TALKED about our day; you didn't leave until everyone was done and then you did the dishes and your chores. I didn't die from my parents being parents ... they taught me valuable lessons. Today it seems parents plug their kids in so they have a 24/7 babysitter and don't have to deal with being a parent. We are short-changing our young people. They need to be unplugged and LISTEN to the world around them and INTERACT on a one-on-one basis with their fellow humans ... and parents need to make the "hard calls" and raise their children ... that is THEIR responsibility. OK ... jumping off the soapbox now ... this is a hot topic in my house. Linda

jude's page said...

I agree with you, and often see adults out walking with their ear buds in, instead of listening to the birds singing.