Arm deep in sticky mud, they shape yummy cakes and scary castles. The bright yellow, red and green of the tiny plastic wheel barrow are being splattered in fresh mud. It only seems to be a matter of time before the amount of mud in the barrow will equal that on clothes, faces and bare fore arms.
Given simple raw materials, children will play. Their creativity unrestricted and unshaped by the need to colour in the lines. No need for each moment to be filled with the instance gratification of reward driven games.
I long for those days of innocence again. Wishing I could send my children back to that wonderful place where success is measured by clothes in the washing pile rather than new clothes failing to make them look like the air brushed model.
Life has become complicated and painful.
In the Industrial Age they believed that factory’s could mechanise work for good. But it simply robbed us of the satisfaction of hands on work and craftsmanship. In the fifties they thought the we would all have more leisure time as robots and machines served us. But they did not realise that we would just have to keep working harder and harder to afford those luxuries.
Progress always comes with a shadow.
The progress in this generation has been exponential. Yet still the shadows have surprised us. Our electronic communication allows us to connect instantly across the globe from a slither of tech in our pockets. But words in a email rarely transmit the subtle tones of human conversation. Social networks held the promise that we would never be alone. But living our lives on the back of other people’s newsfeeds, means we are more alone that ever. Passing likes are not a reflection of loving, lifegiving connections.
The dopamine fix means our phone twitch and even cause us to imagine the subtle vibrations on a latest notification. We are unknowing addicts on an intravenous drip loaded with the unremarkable glossed lives of other nobodies.
Each day bombarded with news, gossip and images. We were suppose to care more, to connect more deeply and have our creativity fired up. But in reality we become numb to the hardships of others, fascinated by the failure of our neighbours and our imaginations manipulated by a thousand fake photos. Tomorrows fix will need to be stronger.
I wish I had seen the shadow side of our always on age. I wish I had listened to my gut and protected my children from the tusunami of social information for longer.
I long for those innocent, uncomplicated days of mud pie creations in multi colour wheel barrows. But we can’t go back.
Over the last week one of the kids has been grounded and this has included an electronic grounding, no iPhone, Facebook or tumblr. Just space to think, read, converse and create. For tonight a request has even been put in for a campfire. The best bit… They love it and so do we.