When asked what kind of books I like to read, I’ve always answered with “fiction” because non-fiction is just too weird. Who wants to delve into another’s psyche except a psychiatrist? But at a bookclub recently one of our members was talking about a book she’d read but didn’t remember the title, a memoir about growing up in a Panhandle oil town. She said it was interesting to her because of all the stories I had told of my experiences growing up…in a Panhandle oil town! Another friend told me I should consider giving a program at a community event on my life experiences because my life had taken some really funny and bizarre twists. So I thought…maybe I should write these stories down? For my son? So I don’t forget the life I had (there’s always that fear, isn’t there?)? So I’m writing a memoir and the working title is, High Plains Drifter…isn’t that a Clint Eastwood movie? So, I’ve had my mind on my past lately.
As I was perusing my Yahoo home page this morning which is filled with news feeds from all over the world, I ran across a piece about a study done recently concerning the time kids spend in front of the TV or gaming console. The gist of the study was that, contrary to previous thought, increased activity doesn’t overcome those hours of mindless staring at a screen. In fact nothing overcomes those lost hours. Those hours even if tempered with physical activity still pose threats to our kids’ emotional and social well-being. Read the study, it’s interesting.
But what this brought to mind was all the hours that I spent as a child reading. And I mean as a really, really young child, First Grade level. I got a prize in First Grade for the most books read in one year…an admirable thing…except I remember that summer (or it might have been the summer after Second Grade) my mother kept locking me out of the house so that I didn’t spend all day reading in my room! Of course I snuck books outside and just read on our front porch, a great covered front porch as I remember…and I’ve been fond of covered porches ever since. But the moral of this story is, whether a good thing or a bad thing, the fact that as a child I lost myself in books for hours on end led to my psychological make-up today. I’m so much more comfortable alone with a book. Social situations are a real torture. Those of you who know me are probably shocked at this…but it’s true. Give me a book…any kind of book…and I’m such a happy camper. The one thing I would want to have on a deserted island is probably a magical library which never runs out of new books to read….OMG…does that sound like a Kindle and an internet connection???? Perish the thought!
What a disjointed blog! But the point is, I think, that even before TV, you know, in the Ice Age, children lost themselves inside their own heads. Maybe more so now with TV, and of course TV is so much more mindless than a book, but I think the point I want to make is that every child needs a balanced life. Time alone, time with peers, time with adults. Don’t let your kids just disappear into their rooms for hours at a time without interacting with them. I made a point watching what my son watched on TV when he was young and even now…and he’s in his 30s! Do you realize how much more fun stupid TV shows are if you can do “voice-over” commentary to them? My son is excellent at this…he makes even “Dancing with the Stars” enjoyable! And what he does with “Pawn Stars” is not to be believed! Now that’s GOOD TV!