Look around yourself, look at other people near you. Some are in their cars isolated from the world hell-bent for leather to get somewhere. Some are walking on the sidewalk heads down fingers furiously texting. Texting! 10 years ago was that even a word? I don’t know how many times I’ve almost been run down by someone texting. A noun becomes a verb. I know there are horrible things going on in the world around us. I know that there is ugliness everywhere you look. But I also know that there is incredible beauty and incredible heroism all around us. I think too many people are missing something.
The saying used to be: “stop and smell the roses”. Now I think it should be: “lift your head and notice the world”. Have we become so jaded so not in tune with the world that we are incapable of seeing the beauty that is all around us? The other day I noticed an elderly couple holding hands and smiling at each other. I thought how lucky they are! They can see each other. I watch children laughing and playing with a ball and I wonder how long their innocence will last. All too soon they’ll be introduced to the evils of texting. And soon they too will become isolated. How long will it take before we become a world of individuals with no personal interaction with each other?
We need to stop. We need to look around and notice each other. We are not a species that does well without others of our kind. We need to notice the beauty of a flower or a finely constructed poem. We also need to notice each other. We are in this journey together and those who journey with us contribute to who we will become. Because we are not done becoming who we will be. Hopefully the journey will be overflowing with wonders and excitement and that we will actually notice.
I was a child of the 60s. I wasn’t a youth, or young adult. I was a toddler, an ankle biter, a little kid. In those days children were allowed to be children. I ran outside, I licked rocks, I ate grass and hay and yes probably dirt. That’s what kids did. I used to get up in the morning, have breakfast that my mother had made and go outside. Often she would pack me a lunch and I would be gone until dinnertime. She didn’t always know where I was but she always knew that I was safe. If the truth were to be told often I wasn’t. I used to play in a local gravel pit as well as on a busy train track. Then there was the swamp with quicksand I used to play in. I was having a ball! And I survived it.
Nowadays I see parents taking their children to school and picking them up afterward. I see schools that have banned foods because of allergies. I see signs everywhere that ask people to refrain from wearing perfume because of allergies. These are very serious issues. I don’t ever recall anyone being allergic to peanuts as a child, or perfume, or well anything. Now I have to wonder if this is a new phenomenon? Have we so restricted our children from being exposed to anything that we have done them a huge disservice? I rarely ever see children outside playing on the grass, in the dirt. Instead they are inside attached to a computer or some computer game. They don’t get to experience the great outdoors, the fresh air, the sun. We also are so concerned about germs and viruses that we use antibacterial soap on everything. Now we have superbugs that are stronger than our soaps. Surely you know the story of Frankenstein, a monster created out of someone’s arrogance? Well take a look in the mirror because that’s what we are doing!
We are raising children to be afraid of everything and we are creating super bugs that validate that fear. Does that not sound like the height of hubris? Perhaps if we had left well enough alone and let our kids eat a little dirt we wouldn’t be in the predicament that we are now. It does make you wonder.