Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Pane Truth: What Happened To Looking Out The Window? - Dad-O-Matic

I have been traveling a lot lately, and when I travel, I often find myself looking out of windows... in cars, buses, taxi's, airplanes... and invariably it causes my mind to wander, much in the way it did when I was a child, gazing out of windows at every opportunity. On a recent whirlwind trip to Austin and Las Vegas, I was inspired to write the post below as my weekly contribution to I thought you might enjoy it here too, and hope you don't forget to look out the window once in a while too... 

I miss windows. No, I am not an Apple convert waxing poetic about my old computer operating system. I actually miss real windows… the glass kind. The kind we used to gaze through and let our minds wander in the days before portable electronics became so pervasive. I miss looking out the window, and I wish my kids would spend more time looking out of windows themselves.

Did You See What I Saw?

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time staring out of windows, watching the world go by, and dreaming about what it all meant. Moving windows were the best. I actually looked forward to long car, bus or train rides and insisted on a window seat so I could stare out of it at the passing scenery. I’d look at homes and imagine what it would be like to live THERE. I’d see glimpses of people going about their business and try to expand upon the snapshot moment and imagine who they were and what they were like, and what would they be like after my car/bus/train finished peeking through their world.

Digital Blinds

Now, when I see passing cars, buses, trains, even planes, instead of looking out the windows kids and adults alike are looking at the phone, computer or game system in their hands and laps, or they are staring at the embedded screen in the digitally enhanced headrest on the seat in front of them. In many cases they are wearing headsets, tuned out to what is outside. Our portable devices have created digital blinds on our windows, blinding us to the wonders outside.

The Glass Is Greener On The Other Side…

I am as guilty of gadget gazing as anyone, and I have not done enough to discourage my kids from too often dipping into the digital dark-side. I need to remind them (and myself) that sometimes it is best to leave technology behind and just look out the window and let your mind wander.

What do you think? Do you and your kids still spend time looking out the window?

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18). He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

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