Back to Basics

How do children truly experience life? Is it via technology or more simply by "Back to Basics"?

It is a phrase we hear quite often.  It is thrown around in a variety of venues from dog food, to shampoo, to a small appliance brand found at Walmart and even the title of Christina Aguilera’s latest CD.  What is it that we are craving as a society that is sending ad agencies on a quest for a return to yesteryear?  What are we missing or what are we overloaded on that is alerting us to put the brakes on?  Maybe it is the need for a shift in focus to one of simplicity.

The speed at which technology changes is truly amazing.  We have a lot to be thankful for when we consider how far we have come.  I, myself, experienced it first hand this Thanksgiving when I Skyped my oldest son, who had just moved out to California this past July.  We placed the laptop in the center of the dining room table and shared a portion of the day with him – a beautiful thing.  It wasn’t too beautiful when his younger brothers (as guys would have to do) felt the necessity to have him drool over the turkey as it came out of the oven via that very same laptop. We made the best out of what could be perceived as a sad situation.  Another one of life’s experiences.

But how do we experience life?  Isn’t it through the use of all of our senses?  So as great as it was Skyping my son, having the ability to see and hear him, what about him actually smelling and tasting the turkey? I will admit, I missed the bear hug that I now get from him since that little boy I raised has now grown into the man I am so proud of.  What are we missing?

It is the human element and all of the basics.  In the 1950′s, a study was done by Harry Harlow whereby chimps were bottle fed – one by a wire mesh figurine and one by a wire mesh figurine covered in terry cloth. Given a choice, infant monkeys preferred surrogate mothers covered with soft terry cloth, and they spent a great deal of time cuddling with them, just as they would have with their real mothers.  My conclusion may be far reaching but I believe that when it comes to childcare not just shampoo and dog food, a “Back to Basics” approach is absolutely necessary.  Children need to experience life first hand by smelling the brownies they just mixed as they bake (there’s math and science included in that as well). How can we forget to mention having the opportunity to taste them, warm and gooey, fresh from the oven. They need to be outside on a playground that is not enveloped by the sounds of a parking lot but by the first sights and sounds of spring. And yes, they even need to pick up that earthworm and feel just how slimy it is.  There is always soap and water.  So step away from the computer, put down that IPhone and fall back in love with everything that is simple and “Back to Basics”.

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