Remembrances of days since passed.

Posted: January 10, 2012 in Writing

As I sit here, eager to start off the first post of the New Year, and I find myself thinking about where I have been. I am not merely talking about my recent foray as an author and sporadic blog poster. I am referring to the larger picture.

When I was a kid I remember doing all manner of things that in this day and age would absolutely frighten most people, including myself. Now, I am not the oldest person on the planet, but do you remember playgrounds with slides that only had a wall that rose up two inches on each side to “stop” you from falling off? Don’t even try to think about the fact that these were normally placed over asphalt. Now the slides are so deep you can’t see your child go down them (At least I have that problem with my daughter. She may be the tiniest 2 years and 9 month old ever).  They are also placed over ground coverings that are so soft that running around in them suddenly makes it seem as if every child has been put into slow motion.

I also remember being able to travel two or more miles by bicycle to a friend’s house on my own when I was in third grade. Most parents now would be reluctant to do this with a seventh grader. All the fear that surrounds what may happen. Granted, one day I decided to ride into downtown Minneapolis on my bicycle to visit my mother at work. Sure, I got lost in one of the worst neighborhoods possible, but I made it through unscathed.

The final thing that I remember from the past was all the things that my friends and I did that used our imagination. We used to act out the Robin Hood adventures that we read. I remember being an Uruk-Hai from Tolkien and even a member of The Swiss Family Robinson. Books were a great wealth of fun and entertainment to me.

I used to worry about the younger generations. As a teacher I saw many students walk through that thought reading was stupid and useless. I had a hard time believing that they were going to be ready for the world without the mental stimulation that books bring. There are people who argue that video games and youtube videos are also stimulating, but I feel it is the wrong kind. I am talking about stimulating the imagination. Too many of my students were only good at stating things that they saw, and couldn’t come up with an original idea, and it showed when they went to college.

In recent years I have seen an uptick when it comes to students reading. More and more of my students come through with books not required by their English class. There is a swing back toward reading as a form of entertainment, from what I see. This is encouraging. More of my most recent grads are describing a college experience that they felt ready for, and I have a hard time believing this is a coincidence. Now, I realize that correlation does not equal causation, so don’t jump all over me on this one. I just feel more uplifted by the whole thing.

If we want to see a positive future for the coming generations we need to do what we can to nurture their imaginations. The exploration of space was achieved because people said “What if…” instead of “Whatever.” Encourage your child, grandchild, niece or nephew to pick up a book. Read to them if their parents don’t. Let’s keep the trend going.

Well, that’s all for now. A bit wordy and sporadic in nature, but it is my emotion of the day. I wish you all a great 2012. Keep your eye out here, as my Novel is reaching the end of edits and a series of other works is starting. I’m even eying a few conference dates and competitions as well.



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