January 24, 2008

Sean's Thought of the Week...

When did we Americans stop greeting a new family when they moved into the neighborhood? I remember a time when the appearance of a moving van would trigger a chain reaction which would eventually culminate with bunt-cakes and casseroles being delivered by eager neighbors. I suppose the idea was for everybody to actually meet the new neighbors. We've lived in our new home for over three months and nobody has stopped by with a casserole. This isn't a unique experience. We lived in Dallas for one year and only met one neighbor and that was only because she got mad because we had parked the moving truck in front of her house.

Why are we so obsessed with reality TV.? We love TV shows that peer into the lives of other families yet we won't go across the street and attempt to form a friendship with our own neighbors?

When did kids stop playing outside? I know that kids live in our neighborhood; I see evidence of them from time to time. However, I never hear them playing in the twilight hours or see them running through my yard. We have all seen cartoons which depict an angry old lady shooing away kids that are playing on her grass...I, for one, would love it if kids played in my yard from time to time!

Last December we went to a Christmas party. Santa was in attendance and was merrily taking gift requests from the all the kiddos. 9 out of 10 kids requested a "Nintendo DS." This is a hand-held Nintendo gaming system that allows kids to play their video games when they are away from their homes. It seems that many kids had a happy Christmas morning because lately I've seen a slew of children with little Nintendo screens glued to their hands when they are doing things that once entailed some sort of interaction with other human beings...I've seen these little gaming systems at restaurants. I've seen kids barely look up from the screen to order their corn-dog and french fries. Dare I admit...gasp...that I've even seen one or two of these at church during the homily.

Why is the size of the American family getting smaller and smaller but the size of our homes getting bigger and bigger? When did the pursuit of "stuff" trump the pursuit of progeny?

Whatever happened to the family road trip? I remember sitting in an uncomfortable bench seat for hours on end staring outside the car window while passing the time with actual conversation with my family. Now days the old family truckster has been replaced with virtual living rooms complete with televisions, satellite TV and, you guessed it, video games.

I think Americans are scared. At some point in the last several decades we became collectively scared and we've responded by becoming shut-ins. We are scared of perverts kidnapping our children...therefore little Johnny and Sue naturally can’t play outside. We've become scared of lawsuits...so naturally we can't offer a homemade casserole to our neighbors because what if they get sick? We've become scared of legal liabilities so naturally we can't invite our neighbors over for a barbeque...what if they slip and fall on our foyer? We've replaced handshakes and friendly waves with insurance policies and security systems. We've replaced genuine relationships with our neighbors (even the weird ones) with virtual relationships that are played out in the glowing light of our television sets.


Sean, Stephanie and Hattie said...

I think someone is feeling high on his horse since he threw the X-BOX away last week. :0) Just kidding, honey. Good post, but man, you are definitely sounding OLD..... and making me look old. I'm sure our younger readers don't quite see your point. But I do, so keep it comin'!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

We have lived here 4 years and have yet to meet our next door neighbor.

And yet, virtual communities keep expanding and expanding. I probably "know" as many people in the blogosphere as I do in my neighborhood.

And I have sworn that we will be the only house in America without video games - E V E R. GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!

The Jasters said...

Loved your post! Amen!

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2