We have had a wonderful fall so far in the northeast! The leaves are beautiful hues of yellows, oranges, and reds, the air has been crisp and the weather has been slightly warmer than the Octobers from the few years past. The apple trees are heavy with fruit and there have been some people on horseback in our area - it has been a sight to behold, but only I've seen it! My kids have their heads down, fully engrossed in their tech gadgets, most of the time with headphones on, and missing all of the action! The other night on the way to hockey, two deer crossed in front of my car. I said, "Oh, look how beautiful!" and when no one answered me, I had to say it loud enough and wave my arms to get my kids' attention that the deer bolted out of sight. Those tech gadgets are taking away from so much of what their brains could be soaking in on long car rides.
Aggravated that they were missing the beauty that surrounded us, I told them that when I was their ages, we had to spend car rides looking out the window while listening to my parents' choice on the radio or 8-track (oh yes I just said that). My daughter shot back with the fact that she didn't need to look out the window, she knew what was out there, and she didn't want to listen to my music. My music happens to be the same as hers because I am still a Top 40, bubblegum pop music lover, so she didn't get points for that one. I asked her to humor me and take off the headphones and put down the device for the rest of the trip home once my son was dropped off at his practice. She was already nauseous from looking down and my sharp turn caused her to lose her game, so she obliged. In those ten remaining minutes, we talked about her Halloween costume and the phase the moon was in (waxing gibbous, almost full). We saw the neighbors' dogs running around on their lawn and how quickly the clouds were moving. By the time we were in the driveway, her bellyache disappeared and she was chatting away. So apparently there is more to a car ride than just getting to the destination.
I think that we can compromise in this technical age and not necessarily do away with the gadgets (most of the time my daughter is playing the Stack the States app and learning facts about our country). Maybe we can use them to play the kinds of games we played in the car "back in the day." For instance, what about an app for license plate bingo? I checked and there are a few apps out there (even free ones) where you can keep track of how many times you see the 51 license plates (Washington, D.C. has one too). Maybe someone can develop one where you can play against another player in the car and play by region (I have dibs on the rights to that idea!). Or how about good ol' I Spy from the car? I couldn't find an app for that (I have dibs on the rights to that one too!), but maybe we could use the gadgets' note pad to keep track of the score or the camera to take photos of the items spied - like deer and waxing gibbous moons!
As for music, I think it's a rite of passage to have to suffer through your parents' musical library. I think I am more musically literate thanks to the hours spent listening to Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, and Peter Allen... well maybe not. But my kids certainly are! They get to hear the musical libraries of The Beatles (my husband), The Indigo Girls (me), and Billy Joel (both of us). And if we compromise and use their gadgets with our aux cable, we can listen to their music: Taylor Swift (hers), Macklemore (his), Eminem (his again), and the soundtrack to Pitch Perfect (both of them).
In order to avoid setting yet another tech rule, I think I will start out with some of these ideas with mykids and see how it goes before banning gadgets in the car. I can just picture it now: Playing I Spy on the way to a soccer game while listening to the wonderful musings of Eminem - the clean version of course. It could happen. Well, I'll let you know.
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