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Just a lesson

Posted by White Crane Feather , 22 July 2013 · 312 views

My truck broke down again last week. It's my on fault for ignoring a noise that had started up a while ago. I'm very good at the word "tomorrow" for things I consider an inconvenience.  The timing was such that I was to guide two people into a wilderness area and would not be home or in cell range to get the call for what was wrong with it and discuss it with the mechanic, so I just left it at home. The trip was awesome. These two particular people are truly exceptional in their quest for knowledge and absorbed everything I had to show them , but thats not really what I am writing about.

The freedom from my vehicle is what has truly impressed me. When I got back I got too busy catching up to send my vehicle to the shop. I stayed at home and got a ton of work done while the kids destroyed the house, and I rode my bike to and from work. It's really only a 20 minute trip. I did this Monday and Tuesday. The extra exertion to work warmed me up and got that bit of extra endorphins to kick start my attitude while I work, and the ride home helped me to wind down.

Yesterday however I decided to load up the double jogging stroller and put the kids on their bikes and meander on the trails by the lake throughout the day fishing and swimming. Down the trail is an exit that is right across from my school.  I arranged for my wife to pick them up before classes started.

The entire day was spent  roaming the outdoors with my three boys. I taught them to fish the crevices in rocks for blue gill. Then I watched them get completely engrossed in it. It was so fascinating to catch fish and crayfish in these little tiny places that they spent nearly the whole day doing it  while me and the little one played in the water and I monitored my fishing poles.

It then occurred to me that this is what the human mind has evolved to be interested in. A detailed fine tuned food acquisition mind set. I realized that this is what video games are replacing for kids. They had that same drive and uncanny focus that kids get on their faces when engrossed in games. There is a procedure, then if applied right a reward. Of course in fishing, trapping, and hunting its a tangible reward and an actual skill.

I marveled at their focus level. Hours and hours. Then I said a prayer to the spirits of the blue gill that they inevitably damaged. I felt bad,  but realized they must learn this skill and be independent in their pursuit. I thanked the fish for being a teacher of my children.

I realized the precious  and rare state of learning they are in that will never come again. I realized how much trivial unless things we fill our kids heads with in the name of entertainment, and that these things are in competition for this extremely valuable mental state of hyper focus that our children have. But it cannot be forced on them. My kids fight me with homework but I know they have tremendous mental capacity.  Modern entertainment and  the media have evolved to snatch and hold that very precious learning focus. Children are rewarded in resolution of story's, points, fake money, fake virtual acquisitions. But in the end its all fake. No skill. No increased mental capacities, and in most cases no problem solving skills.

I bought my kids some games so that I teach them about moderation, but it has taught me about this key psychological development phase. Observing them learning to acquire things in virtual spaces then the same behavior when acquiring food stuff and animals  has taught me the evolution of this behavior quite obviously it's a survival skill. The revelation has knocked me In the head. I suppose I have always known this but the power of it is awe inspiring.

Being freed from the instant gratification of my vehicle forced me to plan my day better, observe more, and be thankful for more. We are living so far outside of our natures and stimulating ourselves in ways that have nothing to do with what the stimulation is even for. We do not observe the richness of the environment around us and are isolated in our made up environments. I suspect in the future I will be pretending like my car isn't working.

Observation and taking time, those may be the most underrated things today. I feel only more and more distanced from who I really am when reading this, because this reminds me of who I was when I was myself, though I still like doing these things. Planning your life ahead too much can be bad for this kind of thing.
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