Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley
Last night, as I was sitting with the other mothers, watching our daughters at cheer practice, I noticed something that concerned me.
Before I point it out, let me explain that cheer practice is an hour and forty-five minutes long, and as interesting as cheer practice can be (it really does have its moments) most of the moms spend their time doing something to make that hour and forty-five minutes go by a little more quickly. Most of the mothers have a smart phone of one kind or another. Several moms have iPads or fancy eReaders (those lucky ducks), but the thing I find astonishing is that very few of the moms (maybe one...maybe) are actually using that time to read.
The iPads and iPhones are busy playing games. Lots of Candy Crush and Angry Birds going on. Several iPads are playing cartoon videos to keep younger siblings entertained. No one is reading....myself included (shame, shame on me).
And to kind of put this in perspective, cheer practice is EVERY Monday and Wednesday night, AND my daughter has tumbling practice on Thursdays. It isn't like the moms are playing the games or busying themselves scanning Facebook or Pinterest once in awhile, it's ALL the time. There is very little, if any, reading going on.
Now to be fair, there is this one mom who brings a new library book with her to each class (a library book...wow. Who visits the library anymore? I'm impressed).
So what the heck is going on? We amazing humans have created this technology to better enrich our lives. We have the capacity to pluck books from the air (like magic) and download them onto our devices, yet...do we? I'm no better. I'm not. I have three children who each own iPods and I know for a fact that not one of those iPods contain a book. Lots of music and games, but no books. Whenever I've suggested downloading a book, my kids look at me as though I've suggested they become nudists. It's an odd thing, reading a book. They don't see it as enjoyment. They see it as work. (I blame the schools for that, I do, but that's for another post for another day).
My iPhone is filled with books and on occasion, I do read, but not often enough. I need to be a better example for sure.
So what do we do? Book stores are dying a slow and painful death. Libraries are struggling. How do we fix this...or can it even be fixed?
I want you to look around you, where ever you are right now, and notice the people with their iPhones and iPads--on train rides, plane flights, cafe shops, etc...-- what do you see? Be honest. Are people reading or are they playing? Is technology killing off books with its ability to search the web from anywhere and to entertain us with movies and games? Will books be faded out like a vinyl record --things to collected and treasured by the very few? Do we really want to be known as the Angry Bird Era? I don't. I really don't.
I can make a change...but is it enough?