Quiet

One of my favorite things is to hang up the laundry.  From the first thaw and 40 degree sun in the spring to the last noontime sun before snow flies, I'm out there, hauling out baskets of clean, wet laundry and folding them back up full of the smell of sunshine when they are done; Something even the most fancy, expensive dryer could ever come close to duplicating.  I wonder if that's one of the reasons why I get so cranky during the long, cold, icy, nasty winter, because I don't have my 'alone-thinking-time'? 

Or it's because I abhor being cold, one of the two.

Anyway, while I was hanging up laundry the other morning, in the quiet, listening to the rustle of wind through the dropping pine needles and the chirp of the AM birds,  I was overcome with joy from the inside out.  Taking a very deep breath, I inhaled the scent of a damp fall morning and simply was there.  Moments such as this, I know I am alive and believe in Heaven on Earth.  It's magical.  It's also when I do my best thinking since, by the nature of what I'm doing, It's work and the boys steer away from the laundry line like I steer away from any doorway all winter.

Thinking my contented thoughts, I pondered how instant my kids' life connections are.  You often hear about growing up in the 'digital age', but rarely do I stop to ponder just what that means.  I am a part of generation X, that swift generation who ushered in the use of cordless phones, computers, video games, and Big Hair bands.  My first foray into the world of computers was in Mr. Thurston's class on a Commodore 64 complete with a green, blinkie cursor.  I learned to type on a manual typewriter, in full, complete sentences.  Now, my kids run a colorful computer with ease, slide their apps around on their iPods and type fragmented, 4 letter sentences with their thumbs.

When I was a kid, if you missed a show (Dallas anyone?), you missed it.  Period.  Or you had to wait around for re-runs.  Now, if my kids miss something, you go online, read the re-cap, watch it anytime along with everybody and their brother's YouTube uploads.  Phones?  I had to call my girlfriends on a rotary dial phone and if I wanted privacy, I had to stretch the cord as far up the stairs as possible to create the illusion that my mom wasn't listening with her hawk ears in the living room.  Now my kids beg me for a phone to put in their pocket.  At 9.  It's all just so instantaneous.  And sometimes, that's natural progression.  Things run faster, quicker and you can, theoretically, do anything from anywhere.  But sometimes, it has infringed upon our rest time, the time you could count on getting away from the hustle and bustle.  The time you could count on nobody getting in touch with you.  Now you have to dump half your belongings just to get some peace and quiet.

Again, most of the time, these are wonderful examples of progress.  I am fascinated at how people come up with some of these techie ideas and how I can be in the peace of my own home while taking care of work issues via the internet.  But because I grew up in the generation that I did, when all this stuff was just emerging, much of this is a terrific bonus, just not the staff of life.  I can enjoy the fact that I have a phone and can call home at any moment, yet not worry if I forget it or simply not turn it on.   I can laugh with my kids if I see a funny clip on YouTube, then walk away and tune into a fabulous book.  (I have even heard myself say things odd, though, about books such as "ooh, I wanted to see this one" ....??  How strange when the vernacular morphs to the visual.)

So my point is this:  How will these kids grow up and learn that it's good to turn it off?  If we don't show them, how will they hear the wind rustling through the pines with the iPod buds in their ears?  Or discern the difference between damp spring air and damp fall air if we don't kick them off the electronics once in a while?  Or relish in the smell of a brand new book (oh my.  That's my favorite kind of perfume) instead of always the tap or slide of a keyboard to read?  To simply just be in the moment without having to have digital enhancement?  More importantly, how are they to hear the Voice of God when they are drowning Him out with the voices of the world?

This is as vital an aspect of parenting to me as teaching them good study habits or reading to them.  It is a priority and one that I like to point out when they are mumbling, moaning or groaning about 'Having to go outSIDE' that one day they will thank me.  Hopefully, at that moment when he looks at a glorious sky, hears the birds greeting the day, he will say to himself "Thanks to my mom I am enjoying this moment.  She really was the greatest..." Oh, I'm kidding. Sort of.  I'd settle for a "Thanks be to God for this glorious day.  I'm glad to just BE".

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