Sunday, April 4, 2010

Appalachian Trail Wisdom

This weekend we went camping to celebrate Wil's 26th birthday.

On the campgrounds, I met a man and his nine year old son. They were hiking the entire Appalachian trail. They started in Maine and made it down to the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border-- where we were staying. We got to talking and it turned out that he was homeschooling his son. Hiking the trail was part of his son's learning process.

Ari quickly became obsessed with this little boy and followed him wherever he went.

I understood why Ari was fascinated with this kid. He was down to earth, funny and so full of energy that he could not sit still. He was bouncing from tree to tree and cutting through sections of woods that intimidated me. He also gave us some Peanut M&Ms.

The boy's dad said something that stuck in my mind.
"Do you have a television?" He asked
"Throw it out immediately."
"Really?" I replied.
"When we travel and stay in hotels, my kids watch tons of TV, and at their friends houses too. But at home, we don't have one."
"Why not?" I asked.
"It's so easy for the TV to become the parent." He replied.

I thought about this and I understood what he was getting at. It's just a click away to switch on the TV to entertain your child, rather than finding ways to interact with them.

I'm not about to actually chuck my television, but I noticed that when we were away for the weekend, Ari didn't ask for Blue's Clues once. He was so fascinated by nature that he had no need for TV.

This weekend reminded me that there is much to learn in nature, and we often forget about our natural world when we switch on the TV.

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  1. That guy and his son sound REALLY interesting, how cool that you got to meet them. I think homeschooling can be a pretty cool thing for the most part. Was it cold when you guys were camping?

  2. "When we travel and stay in hotels, my kids watch tons of TV, and at their friends houses too. But at home, we don't have one.".....
    So, the kids made up their time to watch TV during their traveling time! Is that mean they are not as curious about the "vacation" time and rather watch TV at the hotel then? Mmm, I rather have them watch a little bit of TV at home then forget TV during traveling time. Ari did just that :)

  3. What an interesting experience for that kid. I bet he will learn so many things.

    Interesting about the TV.

  4. What a great experience. We like camping too. Well, it's really hard but well worth it. I agree about the TV thing. When my kids don't use the tv (we only watch videos) they are so much more creative and can entertain themselves. If we start off watching videos, I find they're stuck the rest of the day.

  5. Ug I hate TV. We've talked about this before. Z is bad with it too, at her grandma's...But at home we hardly watch and she hardly asks! I'm glad you guys went and had fun! We'll go together sometime!

  6. I meet more and more parents who moved their TVs to storage after baby's were born. Some days I think I am going to do it... the question is can I live without my Oprah? But I do get the value of limited TV time. Not sure if you know Dido but she and her brother grew up without TV (parents decision) and when asked what she did to entertain herself she said that she and her brother used to just come up with stories. I think I would love it if my kids did that instead of watching TV... I don't know... I am thinking about it.

  7. I so hear where you're coming from, so hear.


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