What did we do before the internet? Sometimes I have a hard time remembering using things like a dictionary, a map, a phone book, an address book. I can remember our family’s first modem…the dial up sounds “wreeeeeeEEEEEE whirrr whirrrr…..DEE dun DEE dun brrrrrr!!!!!!” and trying to shut the kitchen door really quietly so my dad wouldn’t hear me on it late at night, getting into creepy chat rooms and asking “A/S/L” and all kinds of wrong.

I can remember computers that were black with green blinking writing. I can remember getting a pager, getting my first cell phone, my first computer. We didn’t have video games growing up, we played outside. My students are growing up in an age where they think the answer to every question can be found through a quick google. Google is a verb, noun, adjective, and a curse. They don’t want to look up any answers or think too hard for themselves. I think they’re so used to immediate gratification and they believe in the integrity of the internet, so why think about the answer in your own brain if you could just find it with a few keystrokes? They make more references to “I saw on Facebook that…/one time I was playing this video game/one time on Phineas and Ferb” than “one time at the park/camping/at the beach” etc. They spell (or misspell) using “text” speak, because they’re lazy or so used to autocorrect on a computer that they haven’t learned to spell properly. It makes me sad.

Some very interesting research and articles have been written on this topic. Some are fasctinating in regards to the memory loss our generation is expected to experience because we have so many devices to store information for us that we no longer memorize things. I recently read a post on a website I like called “The Education Cafe” about “The Nature Zone,” The book they were reviewing talks about how we live in an electronic age, and if we don’t take time to balance that out with the nature we were created to be immersed in, we will be off-balance, our thinking becomes unclear, our priorities misaligned.

I can’t make technology go away. And I don’t necessarily want it to. It makes my life so much easier. I wouldn’t be able to work and be in school simultaneously without technology. I would get lost without technology. I would lose touch with many friends without it. But I think we become too reliant on it to solve our problems, and lose our ability to think critically or problem solve. Our senses become dulled by the flashing images across our HD/3D/BlueRay screens. We don’t hang out in person because we know what our friends are up to because of Facebook. My kids can’t read a faceclock and they don’t wear watches because they have cellphones. They don’t know how to write in cursive because they type everything. The only phone number I can remember is my grandma’s cell phone.

We stay inside to watch other people live out scripted fantasy lives on “reality tv” instead of going into the world to make our own reality. People buy cars with individual DVD players in the headrests to babysit their children on even the shortest car rides, instead of encouraging them to look outside, or talk as a familiy, or sing songs. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are in those never-ending car rides, forcing my sisters to sing all the harmonies from Sound of Music with me, and shouting every time we saw mini-horses or baby sheep out the window.

i want to be here now.

This weekend I have a glorious chance to get away from the machines that I love, but can sometimes tie me down. I am so excited to turn off my phone, step away from the internet, and meet God in the Pacific Ocean, in the redwoods, in the mountains. To lean back and count stars, to close my eyes and feel the sun on my face.

I want to take the road less traveled by.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both  
And be one traveler, long I stood  
And looked down one as far as I could  
To where it bent in the undergrowth;          5
Then took the other, as just as fair,  
And having perhaps the better claim  
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;  
Though as for that, the passing there  
Had worn them really about the same,   10
And both that morning equally lay  
In leaves no step had trodden black.  
Oh, I marked the first for another day!  
Yet knowing how way leads on to way  
I doubted if I should ever come back.   15
I shall be telling this with a sigh  
Somewhere ages and ages hence:  
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,  
I took the one less traveled by,  
And that has made all the difference.