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August 16, 2012 / dcwisdom

Do We Have Brain Activity Anywhere?

My kids were born in the Pac-Man and Game Boy era.   This mama balked at those time wasters.  I can’t remember how many people “gifted” my kids those games, and the little chickens wouldn’t tell me, only because they really wanted the games and be in the loop with their peers.  I even nixed paint ball guns.  When they were old enough to go to Wal-Mart and purchase them with their cousins, I made them box them back up and return them.  I hated the idea of them shooting each others’ eyes out.

We did what good little homeschoolers do; besides the academics, we worked, gardened, volunteered, took piano lessons, and played league sports.  We were too busy to notice the missing tech games.  I can’t remember wasting many minutes; we kept on the move.  Much time was spent outdoors.  Living in the country with plenty of space to explore kept my kids enamored with nature.  They hiked and explored the woods, made forts, rode four-wheelers, fished, swam in the pond in the summer, and made homemade sleds for the occasional winter snow fun.

Even when we traveled, we carried activity books, played travel games, read books, and listened to good  music, unlike today’s TV and video setups that keep the kids occupied without having parental interaction.  There were numerous times I wished I had a TV in the vehicle!  Plenty of times, I sat in the back of the mini-van with my wooden spoon in hand just to keep the peace.

No, I didn’t give in to video games, and I’m glad I didn’t.

Recently I heard that today’s video games and children’s videos short-circuit kids’ brain activity.  Since video scenes are based on four-second intervals, the brain is constantly changing which affects only those areas where short-term memory and social interaction are developed.  On the web site, the article “Overcoming internet addiction – is the internet rewiring our brains,” Malcolm Ritter’s article states:  “Normally, as a child learns to read, the brain builds pathways that gradually allow for more sophisticated analysis and comprehension, says Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University…She calls that analysis and comprehension “deep reading.” But that takes time, even if it’s just a fraction of a second, and today’s wired world is all about speed, gathering a lot of superficial information fast.”

I have a homeschool friend whose younger kids do what’s called “strong sitting.”  (The link is very interesting.)  It’s a great brain exercise for children, or for anyone who needs a moment of quietness.  The pose resembles the yoga pose, but the exercise helps the brain make transitions and encourages deeper thinking and brain development.  It certainly seems like many of our youths are lacking in thinking skills and brain development (as I have witnessed in the college classrooms).

Prompting this post, I read the following article “Open Letter to Teen-ager”  today on Yahoo’s News Blog – Trending Now.   Here’s the link.  And here’s an excerpt and notice the date:

“In 1959, Judge Philip B. Gilliam of Denver, Colorado, published a letter in the Pierce County Tribune in North Dakota…

Open Letter to Teen-ager

Always we hear the plaintive cry of the teen-ager. What can we do?…Where can we go?
The answer is GO HOME!
Hang the storm windows, paint the woodwork. Rake the leaves, mow the lawn, shovel the walk. Wash the car, learn to cook, scrub some floors. Repair the sink, build a boat, get a job.
Help the minister, priest, or rabbi, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army. Visit the sick, assist the poor, study your lessons. And then when you are through – and not too tired – read a book.
Your parents do not owe you entertainment. Your city or village does not owe you recreational facilities.
The world does not owe you a living…You owe the world something.”

Kids’ short-circuited brains can’t even give them ideas about what to do in life.  A typical example of this happened in the public library, and the director told me that this scenario is played out daily.  A young woman entered the office and asked for help.

Woman:  I need you to fill out this form for me.

Director:  What form is it?

Woman:  FAFSA (college tuition grant).  I wanna go to college.

Director:  Fill out the top portion, please, then I’ll help you with the rest.

Woman:  Uh, I can’t understand it.

Director:  What is your name?  Address?  Phone number?  … I need your 2011 tax return information.

Woman:  My what?  I don’t know…

Director:  You can’t apply for a federal grant without your tax return information.

Woman:  I don’t know.  Forget it.  I’ll just have another kid.

I’m telling you:  We’re in trouble, folks.

Several years ago, I began my own private observation of young people. (Of course, to my kids, it’s terribly embarrassing.  They constantly ask me to be nice and not ask too many questions.  They think I’m being nosey, which I am.)  I notice how many of them make eye contact, how many of them will carry on a logical conversation, how many young men will shake hands firmly, how many of them will smile back.  I observe the ones who have been trained, the ones who studied, the ones who have good social interaction, and the ones who haven’t and don’t.  I constantly watch the kids at the drive-in windows and those who serve my food across the counter.   I observe the young bank tellers, store clerks, college students, and hospital workers.

And I wonder where the excellence is.  And I wonder how we are functioning in an increasingly brain-dead (brain-washed?) society.

I’m not totally blaming video games for our problems.  (Nor do I blame W.   *ha*)  The last four decades have been a wild ride, a whirlwind, a twisted journey.  And we have lost our way seeking our own materialism and left our children to themselves.  Without direction.  Without purpose.  Without brain activity.  Can we recover?  Have we gone past the point of no return?

James Madison – A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.

George Washington – A primary object…should be the education of our youth in the science of government.  In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important?  And what duty more pressing…than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?

Thomas Jefferson – Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.  Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them.  And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this.  They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.

Proverbs 29:18 (NASB) – Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained (or the people cast off restraint or the people perish), but happy is he who keeps the law (or the one who keeps the law is blessed).

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) – Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.  (Point your kids in the right direction; when they’re old they won’t be lost.  from The Message)

I’m holding out hope for us.  Did you know that, historically, in times of trouble and Christian persecution massive spiritual revivals broke out?   I believe this will happen in America soon.  I believe the Gospel will be preached and heard and many will come to repentance before the Lord God.  I believe that God will open our eyes to The Truth and many will believe.

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God bless Israel.  God help America.





  1. debby9972 / Aug 20 2012 6:51 PM

    Very interesting post. I am so worried for the future of young children.

  2. dcwisdom / Aug 16 2012 8:45 AM

    Yes, you think other parents are watching out for their kids and yours, but no. Our kids experienced those things, too. Different strokes for different folks. I’m not saying what others do for their kids is wrong; I just didn’t want it for mine. Turns out, only one of my kids embraced gaming (sports) as he got older. It gives him a common tie with his younger friends.

  3. jmgoyder / Aug 16 2012 2:48 AM

    So much of what you say here resonates with me but I wasn’t strong enough to fight against the electronic game phenomenon that coincided with my own son’s growing up days so I just simply let it happen and kind of embraced it. I loved Pokemon and I even learned to play a James Bond game with him on his first nintendo consul. I used to feel bad about this but my son just would NOT read books and he resisted his primary schooling quite dramatically at times so I opted for peace with him. Now he is grown up to 18 years, it doesn’t seem to have harmed him, all that gaming and I now wonder if some of that actually enhanced his imaginative skills – who knows? The only time I got really disturbed was when, at 7 years old, he went for one of his first sleepovers and was shown a vampire movie called Blade 2 that made him vomit. I was so angry with those parents but didn’t have the guts to tell them at the time except to say at the next sleepover could they please not show any horrible movies. Sorry – didn’t mean this to be so longwinded!

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