Monday, June 23, 2008

The Fascinating, Stimulating Blogosphere

So last night, with my husband safely tucked into his red-eye flight to Dallas, and the kids zonked out in their various bedrooms, I had some private time to troll the blogosphere. I checked out my usual J-blogs and then it occurred to me to click on someone who'd left a comment or two recently on mine. This is significant, because most people who DO read this little stealth expression fail to respond (hint, hint).

And I was blog-agog. I knew there was a wider world of bloggers out there, but I'd never ventured into it. I started reading ( the blog of Ruth Anne Adams, and was was like reading a perceptive, articulate diary. And it hit me that 1) the world will never be the same as before high speed internet, and 2) it's actually GOOD that kids grow up with internet skills; just like other habits that can be deleterious if overdone, they just need to be taught how to manage them properly.

As the coauthor of a book that largely warns parents not to let kids watch TV, I've been in the habit of assuming that children should spend their time away from anything with a screen. While that's still true to a point--I still think TV is harmful, as the content is selected by the provider and not the consumer--I think there ought to be more considered comment not about how MUCH time kids spend on the computer, but exactly HOW they use it.

What this means is that anyone, including me, ought to think about WHY he or she is spending any given moment courting carpal tunnel syndrome. If I were honest, I'd admit that frequently, it's to avoid what I truly SHOULD be doing, like when I spent lots of (enjoyable) time checking out new digital cameras or editing my 28,000 photos. There's nothing wrong with relaxing, or with entertainment. And probably reading camera specs is better for my soul than watching some skanky t.v. offering. Still, it would be helpful to look at what I'm doing honestly, and allot a set amount of surfing time, rather than let it consume my evening and keep me from interacting with the real people in my home. All of whom are glued to their monitors.

Back to Ruth Anne's blog. Here is somebody whose insightful observations let me reflect on my own experiences. We share common interests, and yet our backgrounds are quite divergent. She's actively Catholic; I'm an observant Jew. She lives in a very different part of the country, amidst a different circle of friends...but by reading her blog, I am privileged to get to know them. I even met her mom, who wrote about meeting her recently-deceased world is expanded as if savoring a delicious novel, but this one is true.

I don't have THAT much time to surf blogs, or, frankly THAT much interest in most of them, but what a luscious little treat I can give myself to peek into some fascinating other worlds now and then. It's not the superficial "all about me" world of Facebook (yuk) but words written from the hearts and lives of people who are consistently fascinating and stimulating. I thank Bill Gates and Paul Allen...Al Gore? Well....


  1. You are too kind. Here's another delicious little novel of a blog, rich with pictures. It belongs to my brother Paul who is 'the famous one of the family.' He spent a whole first career as a photojournalist in Chicago, Washington DC and Phoenix and left that when he married his South African wife, moved to Southern California and became a wedding and special events photographer. On the current front page, he has kid pics [my cute niece] and a Jewish wedding and a Korean wedding. In his archives is a three day Muslim wedding. All fascinating and uniquely told in photos. He's got an artist's eye and the skill of a great craftsman.

    He's mostly Catholic, too, but he tells me when he goes into the synagogue he feels strangely at home.

    I had been blogging for a couple years when my father's final illness came. Paul started his blog, then my two sisters and mom followed. So now we all blog and we keep up with each other in that way, too.

    Oh, and to bring this full circle, I read "Saving Childhood" and the desire to preserve innocence for my three wee was really driven home there. It helped us to decide to homeschool at least for a little while. My oldest is 6 and the girls will soon be 5. I've loaned that book out. I also gave "The Case Against Divorce" to my co-worker who was wanting to save her marriage.

    The blogosphere is a wonder of immediate feedback from your end-readers, isn't it?

  2. Ruth Anne, thank you; I'll check out your brother's blog. You must, however, change that photo. Cute, yes, but I find it tough to associate with the way-beyond-first-grader writing your blog! My blog, on the other hand, I call "stealth," and a kid photo is therefore OK.

  3. NL: I anticipated that concern two years ago when I first posted my profile picture. I'm still a work in progress, so I'm keeping a current picture of me off the net. Here's the recentest [a few years's much longer now.] You're good at visualizing, right?

  4. Ruth Anne, on my first all-nighter to your blog, I read your explanation for the kid photo; I can't believe your most recent is from 2005. Perhaps this is an issue to consider? But having something does indeed help.

  5. I meant to comment on this - just told a friend who is the head counselor of a camp, and was planning a discussion on TV, Music, and Internet to check out this post as I thought it was a great set of points on the ways the internet can be used. :)