More on Deliberate Living

Since yesterday's post, I have received a few glaring reminders that, however difficult it may be for me to stem the tide of connectedness that threatens to disconnect me from my inner thoughts, it is exponentially more difficult for a child growing up in this age.  The first is from one of my students, a budding writer who shared the following with the class in a memoir:
A glaring stream of sunlight flows through the window as I force my eyes to take in the bright new day. A cool dampness fills the air in the room, and I shiver from the icy breeze blowing through the open window. I sit up and reach for

(A glass of water? A pair of glasses? A bathrobe?)
my cell phone charging on the table beside me. It’s only five fifteen . . .

Is it me, or did that phrase just ruin what was a wonderfully, sensually descriptive first paragraph?  Well, the moment resumes its ethereality almost immediately:
I inhale a deep breath of the crisp Maine morning and feel more relaxed than I have in months. I’m not ready to leave the cozy confines of my bed. The covers are toasty warm like sitting by the fire on Christmas Eve, and the room around me is a snow covered street.

Again, beautiful writing.  We've all been there, in that kind of moment.  For me, it usually ends gradually, one toe at a time peeking out from under the covers, followed by an arm or two, and then I stumble sleepily into my slippers, gradually becoming aware of the world around me.  For this student however, that awareness starts even before her feet touch the floor:
I lean over the side of the bed, rummaging through my purse, until I find my iPod. I check my emails briefly to see if any college coaches have sent me responses to my recruiting letters. I don’t bother updating my Facebook because I want to stay in this world of quiet serenity for as long as I can.

I suppose, if she saw the incompatibility of that lovely, private moment with the intrusive exposure of a social network, that all is not lost.  But how much harder for her to have any time to think, with a device that beeps and buzzes and cries out for attention even while silent -- just its smooth, lustrous presence is enough to lure her out of a few seconds alone with her thoughts, for fear of what she might be missing.

After fretting over that for a few hours, I read two recent articles about technology and youth.  The first, about e-readers: despite evidence that reading time is increased when parents limits their kids' exposure to computers and television, both children and adults continue to fall for the myth that more technology means more education:
“I didn’t realize how quickly kids had embraced this technology,” Ms. Alexander said, referring to computers and e-readers or other portable devices that can download books. “Clearly they see them as tools for reading — not just gaming, not just texting. They see them as an opportunity to read.”

An opportunity which has been there for as long as anyone can remember, in the form of free books -- from the library, school, home or anywhere else.  But the urge to be plugged in is frighteningly persuasive.  And speaking of frightening, while my opening anecdote may have been a little unsettling, this piece is so chilling I can't think of anything to say in response:
The bedroom door opened and a light went on, signaling an end to nap time. The toddler, tousle-haired and sleepy-eyed, clambered to a wobbly stand in his crib. He smiled, reached out to his father, and uttered what is fast becoming the cry of his generation: “iPhone!”

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