It’s been nearly five years since I’ve written a commentary. Not that there haven’t been times when I wanted to, but my Public Service responsibilities took precedence. Now that I’m no longer serving in that capacity, I have the time and the liberty to resume sharing my thoughts and opinions; and as I write this, I’m realizing how much I missed it!
So, let me begin by saying I love what social media can do. And I regret what it has done. I like that it can connect and/or reconnect people and entertain with funny videos. But I don’t like how it has changed our attention span. We no longer must wait for what comes next. We expect instant gratification. If we don’t see what we want, we keep scrolling until we do. Or we fast forward the video.
I think I’ve known that for a while, but I didn’t SEE it until last weekend. You see, we don’t have grandchildren yet, but we have pleasurably accepted the title of Grandma and Grandpa given by two sisters, 9-year-old Averie and 10-year-old Ryleigh. So, when we were asked if they could stay with us for a long weekend, we gladly said yes.
At this juncture, I bet you are thinking, “did you just now figure out that iPads and tablets are used as babysitters?” Well, no, that’s not what triggered my realization. It was when I learned that neither of the girls had ever watched the Wizard of Oz!
As we were talking about the upcoming school play, Averie said her class was singing the song, “If I only had a brain.” And then she began her rendition. Immediately after complimenting her singing, I said I recognized the song and asked her some questions about the movie. When she looked confused, I asked if she had ever seen the Wizard of Oz. Clearly, the answer was no.
What came next? You guessed it. Because it was important to me that they watch this classic, I searched on a streaming site for the Wizard of Oz, and we sat down to watch it. And that’s when the realization hit.
About three minutes in, the girls wanted to pause it. Then, they wanted to get a snack. Then, they asked if we could watch it later. They were ready to watch something on Netflix or go play with a new doll. And that was when the epiphany occurred. They hadn’t asked to watch the Wizard of Oz. It was MY idea.
Instead of the storyline from which I thought they should learn, I was the one that got the lesson. And how ironic is it, that the iconic line in the move, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” is exactly what they did!