A blog dedicated to getting people to move, walk, improve their mental and physical well being by participating in humanity's oldest form of physical activity.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Head Scratching And Anger - No, Despair
This morning was beautiful if a bit chilly, so I was able to walk outside for a couple miles with my best walking buddy, the four-legged Lizzie. She suffers from too many days without a walk when the weather is too cold or the path too icy. We both enjoyed our outing.
Later in the day, after my friend Kris was able to leave work, we met at a local mall to walk and talk. While the mall is not my favorite place to walk, it certainly has the advantage of being warm, safe, and accessible.
But, it was there that I saw one of the most awful sights I've ever seen - a kid in a stroller with a small video screen for his viewing pleasure. It was all I could do to not grab his mother and shake her, screaming about how she was stunting the physical, emotional, and intellectual growth of her child. Have we become so detached from our tots that we need to have them entertained by a cartoon on a screen while we toodle with them around the mall? Or for that matter, do we really need those SUV's with not one - but TWO - video screens for the kids to view the latest toons so as not to disturb mom or dad or any other passenger? I am outraged!
It's bad enough that our kids find their own way to the TV remote and the video game console, plopping themselves down to be entertained by some mindless virtual maelstrom having no basis in reality, no soul, and no redeeming virtue of any kind. Well, I guess there is that teeny little benefit that the won't be bothering a parent for the next hour or six.
So, we wonder why our kids are all getting so fat. We wonder why they don't do well in school. We wonder why they demand more and more external forms of entertainment so they are never forced to deal with the realities of the world they will grow up to run!
If that mom with the kid in the stroller loves her child, she will encourage him or her to look around at the world as he passes through it from his toddler perspective. She would engage in conversation with that child, building neurologic pathways in the brain for speech and some curiosity about all those new things s/he sees. Further, as soon as s/he is able, she'll take him out of the stroller to toddle around the play area or run down the mall corridors, exercising those muscles s/he's certain to need as he matures. Having a kid that plugged in to external, mindless visual entertainment is child abuse - plain and simple. Don't bother to flame me or throw virtual rotten tomatoes. I'm right here and anyone with a functioning brain knows it.
I've raised three kids and there were certainly many times - probably daily - when I wished they'd just shut up and leave me alone for a few minutes. That's what books and playgrounds are for! And naptime.
Please, please DO NOT plug your child or grandchild or any child whose care is ever entrusted to you into any form of electronic media on a regular basis - especially when there is an opportunity to allow the child to do some activity that will stretch his mind or her legs. An hour of Sesame Street is one thing - a treat (maybe for you as much as the kid who will be totally engaged by it). But, aside from that, stroller rides, car rides, walks, trips to the playground, and carpool are all opportunities to share the world around you with that child - maybe the only opportunities you'll have in an increasingly busy and plugged in world. Take advantage of every opportunity to help a child do what his/her legs were intended to do - crawl, walk, and run - to do what his brain was designed to do - learn, evaluate, measure, question - to do what a child's ageing and development demand - a guide through this very complicated world s/he will have to navigate.
If you love that child and want to give him the best chance at success in life, take him for a walk and a talk - regularly.
BTW - this stroller looks like a rental (as Kathy G points out) but the one I actually saw was not a rental. Someone paid big bucks for that awful thing!
Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.