Even though we tend to talk about learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD and other school stuff in these blogs, sometimes just talking about the state of modern childhood catches our attention.
When kids come in to the office, there is often some down time where I may be talking with a parent and the child is not a part of the process. I usually offer them some things to do. Since the office isn’t equipped with iPads or other technological goodies, they are offered “old school” activities, like drawing at the white board or playing with some cars, figures and other objects.
There’s also a bookshelf of kid-friendly books. One of the books on the shelf is the one from the “Where’s Waldo” series.
Two siblings came in recently and I suggested that they try and find Waldo while I talked to their parents. They looked at me like I was beyond crazy. If their nonverbal could speak words, it would be something like, “Find Waldo??? Why would we want to do that??? I mean we do have our phones here and that’s so much better than finding this goofy looking person hiding somewhere among these thousands of images.”
They gave a little half-hearted attempt to find Waldo in the first picture and then turned back to their phones.
I tried having a few other kids spend some of their down time looking for Waldo and I pretty much got the same response – a shrug and a look of “Why would I do that?”
One of the things that struck me was how removed the whole “Where’s Waldo” book and activity were from their lives. Not only did they have pretty limited interest in finding him, they really didn’t know anything about Waldo. They had never seen any of the books.
I don’t know why that strikes me as sad, but it does. Waldo’s out there hiding and no one’s looking for him.
Increasingly, I have been seeing articles and studies and gathering anecdotal data that if it isn’t on a screen it has little value for a child.
Waldo’s in a book.
Every once in a while, carve out some “old school” time and put the screens away for about a half hour or so. Get a hold of a couple of Waldo books (don’t look for the Waldo app on the iPad) and have a little fun together.
Waldo and your child will thank you for it.