By Dalia El Athamna
As a little girl, I remember spending hours immersed in nature. Smelling fresh air, digging for worms, snails and even cockroaches. Climbing trees in the backyard…I remember sitting on a skateboard and sliding down till I reached the end of the backyard…
I remember shooting a basketball in a ring that was almost my height pretending that I could slam dunk and writing names of famous basketball players like Shaquille O’neal and Micheal Jordan on the bricks of the balcony..
Full of energy and life, I remember climbing up on the roof of our house then getting stuck not knowing how to come down again. With crayons and chalk, I wrote my name all over the backyard, leaving memories in every corner. If I wasn’t on my bike, I was in my roller blades, rollerblading to the stores by my house, to my primary school.
I was filling up balloons with water, picking plums from the tree that filled the middle of the backyard…
As I stand on the balcony today, staring at the same backyard a couple of decades later, looking at the same walls that hold my name. Looking at the trees that gave me years of joy, I wonder what has changed ? Where have we reached? Where has the joy of childhood gone? Have our children missed out on their childhood? Have they forgotten how to play?
What have we benefitted from all this technology around us? iPads, iPhones, iPods… The iPad generation has missed out on the joys of climbing, on the joys of jumping and digging for worms and snails. Hours spent staring at a screen jumping and climbing with a swipe of a finger.
I feel sorry for a generation that will never know the true meaning and taste of getting dirty, of climbing and falling, of creating games with a pen and paper, with rocks and chalk. I feel sorry for a generation and generations to come that will never understand what it really means to be a child.
I often hear parents saying I want to give my children what I never had as a child. Individualized iPads and iPhones, Tvs and computers in each room. Lessons in every sport and every activity. My child must be good in everything that ever existed because I never had a chance to be good at basketball, soccer, skating, taikwandoo, karate, gymnastics, swimming, jujitsu. And the list is just endless….
Sure I want my children to be good in everything too, but If I could, I would give my children a glimpse of my childhood. I would give them the rocks I played hop scotch with, I would give them the chalk I wrote my name with all over the walls, I would give them the nature that gave me so much joy as a child.
I would give them the ability to ride, skate, swim, jump and climb with out lessons..
If I could I would give them the imagination to create and play and the ability to lose themselves in nature.