When we’re children, we don’t know much. We don’t know that there are certain times we’re supposed to be hungry. (when I was out playing my mom always had to holler at me to come home for supper) We don’t know what boundaries are for . (I’ve climbed through, over and under many a fence because I thought they were just for keeping stuff in) and we don’t have any concept of time. Days go on forever, and summers, even longer. We don’t know that life is short. We don’t know that it’s unfair. We don’t know that there are unwritten rules in the world we were born into that are gradually going to try to bind us. And we aren’t supposed to. Ahhhh, to be a kid.
As we proceed through life the lines that we’re supposed to mind manifest. They’re in our family, then our block, then community, and our city. As our exposure to the outside world continues to grow, the lines keep rolling out before us. Lines for proper etiquette. Lines in other directions too. Lines for county, state, nation, and world. Gender, age, race, financial status. Some lines are good. Good lines keep order, create, renew, progress, discipline, fellowship, respect and unify.
Some lines beg the question, why? Why are so many people following that stupid line? Who decided that the majority should follow this line? We get older, turn and look back and see the years spread out behind us where the lines once were. We began with good intentions! Then somewhere along the way seriousness replaced innocence. The gym replaced riding bikes. Tv replaced baseball. Shuttling kids around replaced watching the clouds. Contempt replaced acceptance. Malice replaced love. The days fly by faster and faster because the line we followed told us that in staying busy we’d find happiness. We’re never satisfied even though we spend every dime we can get our hands on trying to buy it.
We might not realize it, but we’ve allow ourselves to be manipulated by one extremely powerful force. Television. Oh, it began benign enough. It was a magical box that brought joy, laughter, drama, and entertainment right into our living rooms and left us all warm and fuzzy from it’s impressions in our minds of joy, honor, morals, love and the guy on the white horse saving the day. But as it grew, it’s personality changed, and so did ours. It became hungry for money and influence. It pushes in our faces everything we should strive for, conform to, admire, dream of, wear, buy, drink and eat. It provides our role models and life lessons. It romances people into imitating synthetic rebels, gods and princesses. It steals away your time as your life grows shorter and shorter with every episode. So are we alive to merely “Keep up with the Kardashians”? Where exactly did we leave our happiness?
Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting boycotting tv altogether. I’m simply saying be aware. Don’t believe everything you hear. Be aware that you don’t need to buy ten different kinds of cleaners. Your home will be fine if you use one. Be aware that if you don’t buy JIF, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent. They tap into your sense of guilt, insecurity, pride, desire for acceptance and selfishness. Analyze and choose the information that you want to use and then apply it to your life wisely. And for crying out loud, don’t let tv raise your children. Start closing that gap that we’ve built between one another. I have a feeling that one day soon we’re going to need each other again. But that’s a story for another blog post.
Here’s a tip: A good way to keep your money in your pocket? If you weren’t going after it in the first place, don’t buy it unless it’s something you really need. Chances are a week from now you won’t even remember what it was you didn’t buy.
So, things we do know when we’re kids is that life is an adventure. That everything is fresh early in the morning. That life’s chalk full of things to discover. It’s full of moments that will stick with us forever. It’s bugs and swings and tea parties and reading. It’s spinning until you’re dizzy, frisbees, candy and coasting down big hills on your bike. Life is sweet. It can still be sweet. All you have is start following a better line.