I recall long car rides in the summer. My sister and I would have notebooks and little else. We would count slug bugs and scold the moon for following us. Today's children have technological entertainment with the push of an icon. It is not so unusual these days to sees kids on iPads at the pediatrician's office or at restaurants. I still do a double take every time.
A recent train ride made me realise just how dependent we have come to rely on Angry Birds and other Itouch apps for an odd half an hour of silence - with minimal demands to "look!" at something. When my battery unexpectedly died (okay, to be honest I forgot to charge it the night before), we were faced with a tragic circumstance. 75 minutes on a train with nothing to do but look around at real live people (to give him credit, no one was doing anything remotely interesting). I pulled open a section of the New York Times, handing him a crayon from a pack I keep stored in my handbag and challenged him to circle all the "the" he could find. If he found twenty he was a winner for sure. To my surprise he not only accepted this vague reward, he actually found 54. Even more surprising that he earnestly lent his attention to his task. We heartily congratulated him and then challenged him to find the word "and". On the train ride home we requested pronouns before twisting the pages into airplanes and badly done origami. It was fun for him and gave us a few more minutes without hearing the famous line all parents cringe to - "Are we there yet?" Even better, it made me mindful to SUT (stop using technology) as much when desperation calls.