Our seven year-old granddaughter Anna likes to journal. She carries her journal with her most days and jots down notes or stories. She also sketches and adds drawings to some of her writings. Anna starts second grade this year and I don’t believe that her writing is extraordinary for a second grader but she writes because she loves to and I find that extraordinary. When I was in primary school I would never write during the summer months and each school year would begin with a challenging week or two trying to relearn what I had forgotten.
Anna may never be a gifted author but just loving to read and write will make her a better student; a better communicator; a better citizen; and a better person. And of course I believe that she is brilliant, so others’ opinions of Anna mean little to me.
The bottom line is this: Anna writes. She reads. She thinks. She reflects.
We as a society have become so used to instant gratification. Instant messaging. Instagram. I have more information at the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen than is housed at my local library. I carry microprocessors around in the form of my smart phone and tablet and yet at times it seems that I am stunningly unaware of the beauty around me. How often have I missed the song of birds in my own garden because my ear buds are plugged into my iPod? How often have I missed the smile of a stranger (or a loved one) because I have my face planted in my iPad as I read emails or text messages or Facebook posts? How often have I neglected someone “in person” while chatting away on my iPhone?
Don’t get me wrong: Technology is wonderful. Abundant information makes for informed consumers and citizens. But sometimes we have to experience life – real life – with all our senses. We need to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell all of God’s creation. We need to unplug. Quiet ourselves. Read a book. Listen to nature. Hold a hand. Share a meal.
And then maybe we can pick up a pencil and write about our experiences.