Go do something

Words do not teach at all. It is life experience that brings you your knowing.

— Abraham


They’re speaking here about “knowing” in a deeper sense than just understanding.

You can tell a kid that getting hit in the head by a baseball hurts, and he’ll understand.  But, once he experiences it, he’ll know.

You can tell someone that getting married is different from living together, and they will understand.  But, it takes having that piece of paper in hand to actually know the difference.

You can tell someone that it feels great to have a crowd of people cheering for you, and they will understand.  But, having the experience creates a deeper understanding; a knowing.

In writing this, I’ve somehow come around to thinking about how this applies to today’s kids.  Those of us who remember the olden days (before the Internet) look at young people today with a mixture of envy, disdain and pity, among other things.  Envy, because a lot of things are pretty easy for them, relative to how it used to be.  Disdain, because they don’t appreciate what they’ve had handed to them for free.  Pity, because we watch them staring at little screens 24/7.  They don’t have real relationships.  They don’t interact with anyone.  They don’t leave the house.  They don’t experience things.  Their worlds are, in many ways, no more real than a video game.

Excuse me while I step up onto my soap box…

If you’re a parent, you are doing your kids a disservice if you don’t kick them out of the house to play.  Take away the iPhone (blasphemy!, I know) and the portable Game Boy.  Force them to use their imaginations.  Force them to meet other kids, to make friends in person, to have disagreements, maybe to fight.  Make them participate physically in something with other people.  It doesn’t matter if they like it or not; it’s not up to them!  If it was up to them, they’d eat nothing but junk food.  Do you let them make that decision, or do you force them to do what’s good for them?

Thank you.  I’m finished, now, at least for the moment.

Life experience is key to more than “knowing”.  It’s key to our happiness.  It provides reference points.  It gives us things to measure against.  It’s important for our mental health.

But don’t take my word for it; go do something.


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