July 9, 2019
Sometimes the River Blog runs a little dry. I sit down to write and I get writer’s block.
Please do not think for a moment that we are not awash is fun and excitement. Camp is going great. These counselors are so wonderfully engaged. The activities are operating in top form.
And all I need to do to get an instant smile is to watch your amazing children playing and interacting.
But that darn River Blog stills confounds me.
So that brings me to the 1057threason I am lucky to be married to Susie Ma’am. While I was racking my brain for something to write about, she shared a piece of art with me.
A camp mom sent this to her. Titled “Addiction”, this sculpture is beside a canal in Amsterdam.
It seemed like the perfect contrast to time at camp.
I have been one of these people on this bench – absorbed in some tidbit of information or a video on a phone while the world swirled around me.
But I have also been the child sitting in a circle with friends.
I have had my face illuminated by the grey of a screen,
but I have also laid flat on the ground and starred at stars while at camp.
I like the second Steve more.
My struggle is making that choice at any particular moment. During the non-camp months, I know that a walk outside at dusk will invigorate me, yet I check the scores of the Astros game or recent news instead.
I guess I am aware of the fact that I am making that decision, though a lot of evidence suggests that I decide to look at the phone without any real conscious volition.
And I did not grow up with these devices.
I know I can sound like a broken record, but I simply love seeing a sea of smiling faces (both campers and counselors) without a single visible device.
So please know that your child can find joy without being connected, but s/he may well never choose to do so. Heck, please remember that YOU can find such joy, but you may find yourself reaching for the Facebook update or Twitter feed.
I wish I had some amazing advice for you. Having tech-free times like meals or bedtimes is a great start. I am also a huge fan of vacations to places that have little to no connectivity. Or, if a vacation spot has strong Internet, simply banning devices for days at a time when on trips.
But I, like you, am swimming in unfamiliar waters. I happily invite suggestions from families that have good answers here – especially for teens.
In the meantime, our camp community will be living face-to-face rather than screen-to-screen for at least one more week.