This month my daughter Hannah turned 25, and my youngest son Søren turned 15. Once upon a time Reading Rainbow was a happy part of our literacy routine. Recently Sara came to visit and we stood in my kitchen humming the theme song, laptop in hand, anticipating LeVar. Surprisingly, what we gleaned from this little stroll down memory lane transcended sentimentality. The treasure struck us in the first four words of the episode: “Hi, behold the egg.” LeVar Burton looked us straight in the eye and took the better part of a minute (55 seconds to be exact) to enunciate four words.
Like Mr. Rogers before him, LeVar knew how to settle us into slow motion and slow motion is just what our children need to learn well.
Let’s face it. Overexposure to electronics is over stimulating, diverting precious brain space from creative thought. Letting the mind engage in the stillness of imagining utilizes areas of the brain that will be left inactive while engaging in electronics.
Children should not have difficulty sitting with a book for a long time.
Children should not have difficulty sitting with a pad of paper and colored pencils.
And children should not have difficulty sitting, without implements, enjoying their imagination in silence.
Our world is cluttered with all sorts of noise—auditory and visual. We are saturated. And the outcomes are disturbing. Rampant distraction is diminishing the capacity for contemplation and creativity. The din is overwhelming.
Let’s change the atmosphere. This fall, why not create a tradition of reading? Engaging with books helps children settle into slow motion so that imagination might thrive. And slow motion is stress sapping!
Back away from the vortex of fast-forward-too-muchness.
Sillness is a form of silence. And everyone knows that silence is golden, “Behold the egg.”