Thursday, August 18, 2011

Imagination is Dwindling- Imagine That: Part 1

Excerpts from 'Honey for a Teen's Heart' on Imagination.

"When asked why they didn't do more reading, a group of teens unabashedly gave two reasons: the television and the computer. Both become addictive. Both become a substitute for relation within a family. neither is totally negative. In fact, our technology is amazing. But technology is not in charge of our lives; we are! ...To willingly become a slave of something with an "off" switch is failure to control life."
"Television may be a passive activity, but what you see does affect your values, especially if you are not used to questioning what you see or read. If you think of your mind as a pad of paper with blank sheets, what are you writing on its pages? We need to decide how we want to fill up the pages of our minds."
I know you are thinking I'm agreeing with the idea to eliminate television entertainment, but that is not the case. If you knew me, you would know that I love a good movie! My family has not had cable TV since I was six. Granted we do have a television with a DVD player where we watch movies. But my parents have designated a certain time for movies. We kids are content with this. I understand that my parents want to protect me and encourage a creative and thinking mind. Too much TV steals imagination and attention spans.

"Statistics show that the average young person has watched of 15,000-18000 hours of television by age seventeen."
That's a bit scary.

I'm not just bashing television. The computer is another area I have to limit myself on as well. There are so many things in life that distract us from cultivating our minds like we should, giving our imagination a chance to live. Pushing those distractions away and getting family involved in books and conversation is a way to grow closer to one another and expand imagination.

Families can have so much enjoyment from wonderful family titles such as The Chronicles of Narnia or the Little House on the Prairie books. I remember when I was eight years old and my mother introduced me to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I couldn't imagine what it was about! And I was itching to know. Mom had a time where we would sit down every afternoon with some snacks and continue the tale about the magical land of Narnia in a wardrobe and the oddly-named fawn Tumnus. At eight years old I was hooked.

"There are so many things in life that distract us from cultivating our minds like we should, giving our imagination a chance to live."

And to this day I can't put down books. I love gaining knowledge in general. School even excites me (minus the loathed mathematics!) All because my mother sparked my imagination at such a young age instead of letting me veg out in front of TV all day.

(Bear with the length of this. It's rather long but it's a beautiful story.)

Another example of a mother who didn't let her children's mind go to waste is Ben Carson's mother Sonya Carson.

"Sonya had only had an education until third grade. After leaving her husband who was abusive, she was left with supporting her sons Ben and Curtis.

Ben was eight and Curtis was 10 when Sonya was left to raise the children on her own. The family was very poor, and to make ends meet Sonya sometimes took on two or three jobs at a time in order to provide for her boys.

There were occasions when her boys wouldn't see her for days at a time, because she would go to work at 5:00 AM and come home around 11:00 PM, going from one job to the next. She was frugal with the family's finances, cleaning and patching clothes from the Goodwill in order to dress the boys. The family would also go to local farmers and offer to pick corn or other vegetables in exchange for a portion of the yield. She would then can the produce for the kids' meals. Her actions, and the way she managed the family, proved to be a tremendous influence on Ben and Curtis.

Sonya also taught her boys that anything was possible. By his recollection many years later, Ben Carson had thoughts of a career in medicine, though it was more of a fantasy many young children harbor as they grow up. Because his family was on medical assistance, they would have to wait for hours to be seen by one of the interns at the hospital. Ben would listen to the pulse of the hospital as doctors and nurses went about their routines. Occasionally, there'd be an emergency and he could hear in people's voices and in their quick movements the pace and emotions rise to meet the challenge. He'd hear the PA system call for a "Dr. Jones" and fantasized that one day they'd be calling for a "Dr. Carson."

Both Ben and his brother experienced difficulty in school. Ben fell to the bottom of his class, and became the object of ridicule by his classmates. He developed a violent and uncontrollable temper, and was known to attack other children at the slightest provocation. The poverty he lived in and the difficult times he experienced in school seem to exacerbate the anger and rage.

Determined to turn her sons around, Sonya limited their TV time to just a few select programs and refused to let them go outside to play until they'd finished their homework. She was criticized for this by her friends, who said her boys would grow up to hate her. But she was determined that her sons would have greater opportunities than she did. She required them to read two library books a week and give her written reports, even though with her poor education she could barely read them. She would take the papers and review them, scanning over the words and turning pages. Then she would place a checkmark at the top of the page showing her approval.

At first, Ben resented the strict regimen. While his friends were playing outside, he was stuck in the house, forced to read a book or do his homework. But after several weeks of his mother's unrelenting position, he began to find enjoyment in reading. Being poor, there wasn't much opportunity to go anywhere.

But between the covers of a book he could go anyplace, be anybody, and do anything. Ben began to learn how to use his imagination and found it more enjoyable than watching television. This attraction to reading soon led to a strong desire to learn more. Carson read books on all types of subjects and found connections between them. He saw himself as the central character of what he was reading, even if it was a technical book or an encyclopedia.

He read about people in laboratories, pouring chemicals into a beaker or flask, or discovering galaxies, or peering into a microscope. He began to see himself differently, different than the other kids in his neighborhood who only wanted to get out of school, get some nice clothes, and a nice car. He saw that he could become the scientist or physician he had dreamed about. Staying focused on this vision of his future helped him get through some of the more difficult times.
Ben went on to Yale University where he earned a degree in Psychology."

From You may read the full story HERE.
Ben Carson is now a neurosurgeon and the director of Pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. None of this might have been possible if Sonya Carson had not enforced and encouraged her son to open up his mind to the world of knowledge.

"If communal family life is important-if family members must feel some social responsibility to talk together as a family about life, ideas, and values-then we have to make a decision to have it happen. We can't afford to let either the television or the computer run our lives. If we are dumbing-down our lives by not reading, we have some decision to make. Real life beckons us to reach for the highest." Honey For a Teen's Heart.


Charity U said...

Wow, Sonya's friends don't know much, saying her boys would hate her!

We have never had a TV in my life, or in my parents' marriage. There are certainly times I wish we had one, but so much of the important stuff you can get online. I too love a good movie, not to mention a good book!

Excellent post. :)

Linda Chelsey said...

Loved it Bria. The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite books growing up! And now I'm reading them to the rest of the family. C ;