Parallel Lives: Rallying for Causes—Centuries Apart

My love for the Classics, especially Latin began in ninth grade, with my first Latin class. I just loved everything about the language—from the declensions to the subjunctive to the four purpose clauses. So, as I thought about the themes for 2017-2018, I looked through the ancient Greek and Roman topics I had covered in past issues, and then—who knows how and why—I remembered Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. I had referenced that work so many times, both in school and since starting the magazine, but never done much else with it. True, it was a fascinating read and also interesting from the perspective of the personalities Plutarch had chosen to profile. Yet, how could I turn it into a theme for DIG? The answer definitely did not come right away. In fact, I worked on confirming the other eight themes for the year, leaving one slot open, just in case. If it didn’t work, I would find another topic.

 

Finally, as decision-time came for me to submit my final list of themes for 2017-2018, I looked again at Plutarch.  There had to be a way—now I was determined to find it. Another review of Plutarch’s work, and some ideas/thoughts began to pop up in my mind.  I would chose personalities from among those Plutarch had highlighted and parallel them with modern-day American personalities. And, I need to include women—ancient women. Plutarch had not done them—all his people were men.

 

My ideas and thoughts began to overtake my ability to keep them straight; there were so many ways I could handle the topic. “Calm down,” I told myself. “Let’s take this a little more slowly.” Ok, now, I had it—but I do not want to ruin the suspense for you, so here’s just an overview:

 

I am focusing the first section on orators, people who moved others to actions just with words.  I have five people: two that Plutarch paralleled, an ancient woman that I added, and then two orators—an American man and a woman—who lived in more recent times. The second section focuses on people who, for the most part, put their country above their own interests. Here, too, I included two of Plutarch’s choices, an ancient woman I choose, and two modern-day American people who did the same. For the third section, I focused on traitors, people who turned against the country they once had supported with great conviction. Again, I selected two of Plutarch’s people, an ancient woman of my choosing, and two modern American personalities who had done the same.

 

The ideas kept coming—how about DIG paralleling lives past and present.  Oh, I liked that idea. And, I had the world from which to choose! That was the difficult part, narrowing down the possibilities. Got it: two woman who had helped and then followed their husbands’ or families’ roles and excelled on their own; two patrons of the arts; and two philosophers whose teachings continue to be influential today.

 

What a great issue this would be—Plutarch would be proud!

 

But, I still had the Let’s Go Digging section to go. What could I do to complement Plutarch? I needed to sit back and think for a minute. An excavation site would not work here—but wait, a manuscript. That was it, I would focus the section on writing and paper, the materials the ancients used to write, which survived, which did not, and what happens to paper documents found on excavations. I needed a bit more—got it—I would include a piece on libraries in ancient times. And for artifacts—that was easy: the oldest-known example of a dated printed book.

 

Oh, I am going to love working on this issue, I thought. And, now that I have it almost ready for the designer, I can say that I definitely have! Hope you all will as well!

 

Order your copy of the May/June issue of DIG Into History. Don’t miss an issue of this award-winning magazine! Subscribe to DIG here.

A Few Haiku for You

Look around outside. What do you see? A bird? A flower? A sunset? A tree? Each one would make a great haiku — for you!

 

The Japanese haiku, one of the oldest forms of poetry, teaches us much about the art and craft of poem-making. The entire poem consists of only three short lines, yet the haiku contains all the basic elements of poetry.

 

The haiku is understated and concise. It is lyrical and dramatic, poignant and precise, personal and universal. Sometimes it is witty. But always it is ethereal and timeless, as meaningful today as it was hundreds of years ago when Basho, Buson, Issa and the other masters of haiku first began exploring its potential as an art form.

 

Here are a few samples of my haiku. I hope you enjoy them. I followed the Japanese tradition of using seasonal imagery to portray the cyclical aspect of Time and Nature.

 

After reading through these, you may want to try writing some of your own.

 

SUMMER

Summer LYB1507_Cover

June

The cricket calls to

the meadow, each evening he

hears his echo sing.

 

July

Beyond fields of rice

shadows sway to moonlight’s breeze,

lithe bamboo dancers.

 

August

Listen, the forest

waits for summer’s final song,

the whippoorwill sings.

 

FALL

Fall LYB1412-cover

 

September

Shadows bow to the

setting sun, pray to the sky

for blessings of light.

 

October

Artist autumn comes,

paints her blush across each tree,

drops palette, and leaves.

 

November

Geese fly south pulling

over the mountaintops a

stone curtain of sky.

 

WINTER

Winter LYB1611-cover

December

The last lullaby,

an owl cries out through the pines,

the north wind answers.

 

January

A sleeping doe stirs

beneath her blanket of dawn,

a new year rising.

 

February

The sea lion roars

across the far horizon,

storm clouds stalk the shore.

 

SPRING

Spring CKT0605-cover-full

March

A field full of pale

parachutes, dandelions

adrift in the wind.

 

April

Ivory butterflies

perch on black branches,

the dogwood blossoms.

 

May

The cherry blossom

wakes, stretches, opens herself

to the morning sun.

 

 Charles Ghigna lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, instructor of creative writing at Samford University, poetry editor of English Journal for the National Council of Teachers of English, and a nationally syndicated poetry feature writer for Tribune Media Services. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of more than 100 books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. He speaks at schools, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit website at FatherGoose.com

Poems About Poetry for National Poetry Month

Have you ever read a poem ABOUT poetry?

Have you ever written one?

 

All it takes is a metaphor (comparison) and your imagination!

 

Here are some poems with metaphors

that compare poems to lots of different things.

 

 

What’s a Poem?

 

A whisper,

A shout,

Thoughts turned

Inside out.

 

A laugh,

A sigh,

An echo

Passing by.

 

A rhythm,

A rhyme,

A moment

Caught in time.

 

A moon,

A star,

A glimpse

Of who you are.

 

 

A Poem is a Spider Web

 

A poem is a spider web

Spun with words of wonder,

Woven lace held in place

By whispers made of thunder.

 

 

A Poem is a Firefly

 

A poem is a firefly

Upon the summer wind.

Instead of shining where she goes,

She lights up where she’s been!

 

 

A Poem is a Rosebud

 

A poem is a morning rose,

A promise just begun,

A blossom new with fragrant dew

Unfurling in the sun.

 

 

A Poem is a Mirror

 

A poem is a mirror

Sitting on a shelf

Inviting you to come and view

Reflections of yourself.

 

 

A Poem is a Painting

 

A poem is a painting,

A masterpiece divine,

Hanging on display inside

The gallery of your mind.

 

 

A Poem is a Song

 

A poem is a song

Made of color,

 

A rainbow

Made of sound,

 

A painting

Made of memory,

 

A paradise

Found.

 

 

A Poem is a Play

 

A poem is a play

meant to delight.

 

A poem is a show

meant to excite.

 

A poem is a song

full of desire.

 

A poem is a sunset

meant to inspire.

 

A poem is a secret

shared with friends.

 

A poem is a promise

that never ends.

 

 

A Poem is a Busy Bee

 

A poem is a busy bee

Buzzing in your head.

His hive is full of hidden thoughts

Waiting to be said.

 

His honey comes from your ideas

That he makes into rhyme.

He flies around looking for

What goes on in your mind.

 

When it’s time to let him out

To make some poetry,

He gathers up your secret thoughts

And then he sets them free!

 

 

A Poem is a Little Path

 

A poem is a little path

That leads you through the trees.

It takes you to the cliffs and shores,

To anywhere you please.

 

Follow it and trust your way

With mind and heart as one,

And when the journey’s over,

You’ll find you’ve just begun.

 

Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Lorelei or Roseanne: What’s Your TV Parent Personality?

One of my favorite mom-to-mom blog resources is Cafémom. Recently, an article about TV mother-daughters reminded me of my panic when I found out I was having a girl – a story I’m finally willing to admit to and share out loud.

 

Here’s the straight, never-before-admitted, honest, mom-to-mom, truth: I never wanted a girl. Now, I said all the right things out loud … “I am just so happy to have a baby at all, I just hope it’s healthy, so I don’t care whether it’s a boy or girl.”

 

But in reality, I really wanted a boy. Like, really.

 

I’d always been a tomboy. It wasn’t until my 30s that I really developed healthy relationships with girlfriends. I was terrified of the prospect of relating to a girl. Terrified of the terrible teens, terrified of the hormones, terrified of the drama, terrified that girls always hate their mothers.

 

When I found out I was having a girl, the first thing I did was binge-watch Gilmore Girls. I thought if I could discern the secret sauce to perfect mother-daughter relationships that Loreali had clearly discovered, I might make it without a complete nervous break-down.  I’m not kidding, so don’t laugh, but I literally took notes.

 

Now that my older daughter is hitting the dreaded teens, I realized that sadly, you need both a mom like Loreali AND a daughter like Rory, so there’s a reason this is a fictional show — the chances both exist together in the same world (let alone the same family) are slim to none. Maybe somewhere in the world, a mother and teenage daughter have established the fun, easy, banter-filled relationship that this show presents, but it wasn’t true in my life. Despite my best intentions, if I had to pick a TV mom I realistically have come to resemble, I’m way more like Roseanne than Loreali. And, it works for me, and my daughters. We may not have the “snuggle-in-and-watch-movies-together-while-drinking-coffee-and-speed-talking” relationship that you see on Gilmore Girls, but we have sarcasm, teasing and passive-aggressive insults. It’s not understandable by everyone, but it works for us, and although the conversations take a decidedly different slant, I think our relationship is Loreali-Rory worthy.

 

What have I learned after having a girl for 11 years (although she acts like it’s been 15…)? I have learned that yes, hormones happen. Yes, her moods are unpredictable — one minute she is cuddling with me, the next she hates every bone in my body. Yes, it’s not easy. But… it’s easier than I thought. I’m stronger than I thought. I can take “MOM I HATE YOU!” with a laugh, an eye-roll, and a fun retort. I can shrug off the drama, tears, and hysteria from “her ONLY pair of decent jeans being in the wash, OMG she has NOTHING to wear!” I can walk away from the everything in the world being my fault and embrace the title of “MEANEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!!”  And for that, I thank Roseanne, and the valuable lessons she taught me. Loreali has nothing on her.

 

[Editor’s Note: CICADA Magazine for teens age 14 and up is great way to help your child navigate the stormy waters of adolescence. Featuring exciting new works in fiction, poetry, and comics, plus interviews with the authors and illustrators who made it happen, CICADA is a place for teens to speak their truths. PLUS, free with each paid subscription to CICADA comes access to bonus content on the magazine’s companion Web site, www.cicadamag.com, the online home of CICADA. The site features The Slam, our award-winning online forum for microfiction and poetry. Designed for budding writers, CicadaMag.com gives teens writing tips and submissions needs for CICADA and urges them to keep up with their writing practice, even when they may feel discouraged. Rory Gilmore would totes approve.]

 

Cricket Media Mama realized, as her daughters entered the dreaded puberty, she’s eternally grateful for a girl because “The Talk” is way more manageable than it would have been with a boy.

 

4 Resources for Teaching Essential Reading Skills

Direct instruction from a reading teacher is one way kids learn to read. Informal learning from parents and caregivers is another way. In fact, research has shown that this informal instruction is pivotal to ensuring kids have the basic skills they need to actually learn to read once they are in school with a teacher doing direct instruction.

 

Informal learning should be just what the name implies: informal. No flash cards, no drills, no worksheets. Instead there are a plethora (I’ve been wanting to use that word for a while now!) of ways to give your kids the reading skills they need without ever letting on that you are teaching reading. Here are a few resources you can turn to for ideas of how to provide that informal instruction in a kid-friendly, stress-free, and joyful learning environment.

 

  • Fun Crafts to Teach Kids to Read: Our friends at Café Mom have compiled a list of simple but fun crafts you can use to make learning hands-on, using stuff you were going to throw away anyway. A game using bottle caps? Sure. Popsicle stick puzzles? You bet. Try these and your kids won’t even know they are picking up literacy skills.
  • Reading Games from PBS Kids: While nothing beats the personal time invested sitting with your kids and playing literacy games or just reading books together, using technology in a mindful way can not only help your kids gain literacy smarts, but can also teach them essential computer skills and increased hand-eye coordination. There are plenty of so-called education reading games out there, but the folks at PBS Kids are experts at this and what kid wouldn’t want to learn about reading with friends like Curious George or Word Girl?
  • Active Reading Activities: From a verb relay race to reading-focused theater games, education.com has reading activities perfect for those kids who never seems to stop moving. Don’t make them sit and listen, get up and play and the learning will come naturally.
  • Write Your Own Book with Storybird: Storybird will provide the inspiration for your child to try their hand at writing with beautiful illustrations that help lead a child through creating their own story. Writing is the opposite side of reading and mastering this skill will help your child read more fluently and write like a pro. You can then have the book they create turned into a keepsake storybook your family will enjoy reading over and over again.

Combine some of these innovative reading activities to your nightly reading time and you will be giving your kids the informal instruction they need to be top-notch readers. And chances are the only ones who will know they’ve learned something is you and their teachers.

6 Tips for Starting Your Own Father-Daughter Book Club

My daughter and I are reading the same book. It happened completely by accident. She had a book. She left it lying on the kitchen counter. I spilled grape juice on it. While I was cleaning it up, I happened to read a few lines of the book and suddenly I was hooked. I must have stood at the counter, sponge in one hand, book in the other for 20 minutes before my daughter came in looking for her book and made me give it up.

 

Bad news: The book was a library book and it now was definitely tinted purple on a bunch of pages.

 

More bad news: My daughter cried when she saw the state of the book.

 

Good news: The damage meant that I had to buy the book from the library which meant that I could finish reading it.

 

My daughter and I both continued reading the book and as we did we would discuss what was going on. It was pretty interesting to get her take on things and I discovered that what she thought was the most exciting or most important parts of the book were not the same as what I considered the best parts. When we were both done with the book, I was disappointed. I wanted that same connection to keep going. Luckily, the book was the first in a series, and a few days later, my daughter brought home book 2. And that is where our unofficial but very satisfying ongoing father-daughter book club began.

 

Start Your Own Father-Daughter Book Club

 

Want to get your own Father-Daughter (or Father-Son, for that matter) Book Club going? Here are few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that might help make it easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

 

  • Let her pick the book. Trust me on this. You may have a favorite book that you remember from when you were a kid, but if you suggest it, your child will not want to read it and if by some chance they do (or pretend to) they will tell you how much they hate it, totally ruining the experience for you. Yep, I’ve been there. Resist the urge to pick the book, it’s just not worth it.
  • Provide snacks. Sitting down with your child across an empty (or mostly empty table) is OK, but add some chips and salsa and it’s an invitation to dig deep into the story and spend quality time together.
  • Invite friends. If your other kids want to join or your daughter has friends who want to be part of the discussion, let them. As long as they’ve read the book and have something to contribute, your conversation will be so much more interesting with multiple points of view.
  • Go there. Don’t be afraid to broach difficult topics. Books for kids often touch on controversial themes (which is why so many of them get banned!) but if your daughter isn’t going to discuss death or prejudice or boys with you, who is she going to talk about these things with?
  • Give your honest opinion. If you didn’t like the book, say so. If you did like it, say that too. And back it up with reasons why. Expect your daughter to do the same. It’s incredibly important for your daughter to understand that she is entitled to her own opinion and that her opinion is valid even if it differs from yours.
  • Discuss, don’t quiz. A lot of books come with book club type questions in the back these days. Ignore those. I’ve found it so much more rewarding to have a conversation with my daughter about the book rather than quizzing her about what she read like they do at school. In fact, I think the reason we both enjoy our book club time together is that it doesn’t feel like school. It feels like hanging out with someone you really like who also read the same book you did.

 

Don’t feel like you have enough time to read an entire book? Or perhaps your child isn’t quite ready to take on an entire novel? Why not try a short story instead? A well-written short story, like those found in CRICKET Magazine, contains all of the same elements of a good novel, including interesting characters, well-developed plots, and universal themes that will make for a great discussion. But with word counts much shorter than a traditional novel, you’ll both be able to get to the part where you learn more about your child much faster.

 

By the way, that first book my daughter and I read together was called City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I highly recommend it for all kids ages 9 and up (and their dads). If you see your child with this book, pick it up yourself and try it. Just watch out if you have a glass of grape juice in your hands.

Four Famous Women Who Loved to Paint, Write, Sing, and Act

The urge to create is in each one of us. Our individual need to express ourselves is a vital part of who we are. The poet Walt Whitman once wrote that we are all born with the desire to “sound our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world.”

 

Since the beginning of time, women have expressed themselves through art, literature, song, dance, and theatre. For many years the beauty of their artistic messages went unnoticed. Nearly two thousand poems by Emily Dickinson went unpublished until after her death.

 

Here are four women whose creations continue to leave their artistic marks on us.

 

Georgia O’Keeffe

1887-1986

 

Georgia O'KeefeGeorgia O’Keeffe was an artist born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, November 15, 1887. Her full name was Georgia Totto O’Keeffe. She painted in oils and watercolors. Her large paintings are full of sensual flowers and landscapes of the southwest. She lived a very long life and died in Sante Fe, New Mexico at the age of 98. Georgia O’Keeffe is known as the Mother of American Modernism.

 

Georgia O’Keeffe

Like the baby’s sky

that lives beyond

the gentle touch of truth,

her pastels rise softer

than a daylight dream.

Her golden eyes

belong to the stars

of another world

where shade and shape and hue

of yellow, purple, blue

unfurl like calla lilies

in a field of lilac.

In warm, blending tones

of sleeping summer babies,

she wakes our eyes

to new worlds

full of color,

motion, and light.

©Charles Ghigna

 

 

Emily Dickinson

1830-1886

 

Emily DickinsonEmily Elizabeth Dickinson was a poet born in Amherst, Massachusetts, December 10, 1830. After college she moved back home and lived much of her life as a recluse, rarely leaving her house. It was not until after her death that her younger sister, Lavinia, discovered Emily’s nearly two thousand poems hidden away in her room. Dickinson’s complete works were not published until seventy years after her death, yet she is now considered to be one of America’s most popular poets.

 

Emily Dickinson

Stanza upon stanza,

her elegant extravaganza

of poem upon unpublished poem

came to life upon her death,

gave birth and endless breath

to old worlds made new.

©Charles Ghigna

 

Sarah Vaughan

1924 – 1990

 

Sarah VaughnSarah Vaughan was a blues singer born in Newark, New Jersey, March 27, 1924. She began taking piano lessons at age seven and organ at age eight. By age twelve, she was playing and singing in her church choir. She won a vocal contest at the Apollo Theater when she was sixteen and began singing professionally when she was eighteen. She was one of the greatest female scat singers of Bebop jazz. Her later recordings featured many popular songs. Her nickname was “The Divine One.”

 

Sarah Vaughan

An infant speaks,

a young girl sighs,

an old man laughs

to hide his cries.

When she sang

her sultry song,

clear blue skies

from now on.

How gentle is the rain

that falls softly on the meadow.

Birds high up in the trees

serenade the flowers with their melodies.

See there beyond the hills

the bright colors of the rainbow,

some magic from above

made this day for us just to fall in love.

©Charles Ghigna

 

Bette Davis

1908-1989

 

Bette DavisRuth Elizabeth “Bette” Davis was an actor born in Lowell, Massachusetts, April 5, 1908. She appeared in plays on Broadway and starred in more than one hundred movies. She became the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is often regarded as one of the greatest actors in the history of Hollywood.

 

Bette Davis

The deep timbre of her

husky voice

played upon the drums

of our ears,

set us all on edge,

made us sit up in our seats

like obedient puppies

waiting for her command.

Her magnetic eyes

held us in her spell,

cast us into new worlds

and made us all believe in magic.

©Charles Ghigna

 

Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

5 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Passions Through Reading

Every kid has something they love and are passionate about. It might be sports or music or chess or computers or art or cooking or whatever. And while not every kid loves to read, here are some great ways to use books or magazines to encourage whatever passion your child does have while also boosting their reading, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills.

 

  • Get out the How to Books. This may be the most obvious answer to how to encourage your child to read when they would rather be doing what they love but it’s also the truest. Virtually any subject you can name has a book about how to be even better in that subject. If your child is struggling with a particular skill or just wants to tackle some new facet of their chosen activity, suggest they find a book on the subject and get to work.
  • Try a Biography. Kids often become inspired to try something new by reading a biography of someone who succeeded in the same thing. My friend’s ballet-obsessed daughter, who doesn’t normally pick up a book for fun, took to Misty Copeland’s biography with a vengeance and then moved on to biographies of other dancers.
  • Give Them Some Background Knowledge. No matter the passion, chances are it has a history or evolved in some interesting way. Young skateboarders might enjoy discovering how their sport evolved from the earliest days until today. Young soccer players might be interested in reading about the first women’s soccer teams and the struggles they faced in earning respect for the sport.
  • Bedazzle it. Whatever your child loves, I bet there is gear or at least clothing that goes with it. Craft books can help your child make their equipment or team shirts more their own or might provide interesting ways to preserve special mementos of their experience.
  • Try a Magazine. There are magazines out there with topics as specific as nature photography, camping, horseback riding, birdwatching, and collecting baseball cards. Plus, as people who subscribe to professional and trade magazines know, magazines generally have more updated information than books. Here at Cricket Media we have award-winning magazines perfect for kids who love American history and the Presidents (Cobblestone), geography (Faces), Science (Muse, Ask, and Click), reading and writing (Cricket and the gang), and archeology (Dig).

It may be that your child’s interests change over time. Perhaps this year they are all in to Harry Potter but last year all their energy was focused on softball and the year before that they were all about swimming. A thread that can connect all of these interests and also help them throughout their entire lives is reading so don’t be afraid to suggest that they get a book or magazine to help them take their skills and knowledge to the next level.

March is National Reading Month

Way back in December (doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?) we presented a new Advent Calendar to our readers. This Advent Calendar gave a daily gift to everyone who opened it by counting down to the 12 Days of Christmas with a story each day. The calendar was a hit with parents who told us that they really appreciated the convenience of clicking the link and finding a new holiday-themed story to share with their kids every day. After the holidays were over, we packed up our Advent Calendar and, like holiday decorations everywhere, put it away until next year.

 

Then someone had a great idea. How about we reuse our Calendar to celebrate National Reading Month by providing a story a day for the entire month of March? And so that’s what we did. Throughout the month of March, you can check out our Reading Calendar every day for a new story or article from one of our magazines. You’ll find fiction and nonfiction, stories for little kids and stories for tweens, articles about topics ranging from history to science, and so much more.

 

So be sure to check out our National Reading Month calendar throughout the entire month of March. There will even be special discounts on Cricket Media magazines for you and toward the end of the month, a preview of our new Tech in Check initiative, which you will not want to miss.

 

March is National Story Month

 

Enjoy and keep reading. As Dr. Seuss said, ““The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

 

Calendar art: Ladybug January 2014 issue “Dragon Talk” art by Bryn Barnard

A Plug for Unplugging

Recently I wrote a blog about the surprise benefit of unplugging from my phone for a few hours. Since then, I have learned some additional benefits such as better rest, less anxiety, and oddly, less snacking. Apparently, I tended to eat when obsessively hitting refresh on Twitter to make sure I haven’t missed any celebrity deaths.

 

Other important lessons:

 

  1. FOMO is a real thing. No, it’s nothing like YOLO. Fear of Missing Out is what I discovered in my enlightenment blog after leaving my phone at home. I was afraid I’d miss things by not being connected to everything. More importantly, I’d convinced myself that I would be missed. If I wasn’t responding, retweeting, liking, answering, commenting… the world would explode. Clearly, since I’m here writing this follow up, it did not. It’s a jolt our egos need once in a while.
  2. Be bored. We never take time to appreciate the sensation of boredom. First of all, much like a muscle, your brain needs to rest after being stimulated in order to optimize its strength. Plus, being bored allows our minds to wander and our creativity kicks in. Creating instead of consuming can only yield positive results.
  3. Our most fulfilling relationships are the ones that are physically in front of us. I’ll just leave that right there.

And the most important thing I’ve learned is how important it is to model unplugging for your kids. Being <cough> years old, I remember the days before smart phones and tablets. Heck, I remember the days before pagers. So, I know what it’s like to live a life unplugged.

 

My kids, on the other hand, don’t. And that’s sad.

 

So I decided to implement my self-enforced unplugged time on the rest of the family: one hour, every day, no phones, no computers, no tablets, no television. Additionally, no electronics at the dinner table. This was met with mixed results. To be honest, this was met with full-on melt-downs. From kids and husband alike. So we compromised. We are doing a trial period of a month.

 

They say you only understand an addiction when you’ve taken it away. We’ll see how this experiment goes and I’ll keep you posted.

 

Cricket Media Mama may be blogging a lot more frequently as her ban on electronics has resulted in her ban from the good graces of her family.