Back to Basics Entertainment

Last week in The Grand Rapids Press I found it interesting to find two articles which seem to pivot around the same idea. Article #1 titled “These toys can help kids have healthier minds, bodies” was written by a Harvard Health doctor and the list of toys to help a child’s mind includes: Blocks, drawing materials, dollhouses, cars, play kitchen, dress-up clothes.

For those of you who read this list and said “yeah right, any child would get bored with these.” you are not alone. Dr. McCarthy admits boredom might be the result of some of these toys, but she also points out that boredom might be a key piece to breeding creativity. “If they are constantly entertained, they will never learn to entertain themselves, and they will miss out on important opportunities to create and explore.”

Now just a few pages later in the same edition of The Grand Rapids Press is the article titled ” ‘Fortnite’ addiction is forcing kids into video-game rehab”. Whoa. In this article Jef Feeley and Christopher Palmeri give a laundry list of issues with kids being hooked into gaming, specifically Fortnite.

  • A divorce service in the United Kingdom cited ‘Fortnite’ as the reason in 200 petitions for divorce.
  • The Vancouver Canucks banned Fortnite after players were consistently missing meetings and team dinners.
  • David Price, the star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was scratched from a start after wrist issues similar to carpal tunnel were heightened due to excessive Fortnite play.
  • Kids have been tricking parents into credit card purchases for the game, sometimes racking up hundreds of dollars in unplanned bills.
  • In June 2018 the World Health Organization designated “gaming disorder” as a disease for the first time.

“This game is like heroin. Once you are hooked, it’s hard to get unhooked.” In 2013 psychologists began using the term Nomophobia to describe the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason. Withdraw symptoms are similar to other addictive substances like alcohol or drugs. Shakes, headache, anxiety, and nausea are physical manifestations of this addiction to electronics.

Potentially the worst part of this growing issue is that there is a consensus that gaming addiction is going to continue to grow as a problem. Electronic device addiction has simply run amok!

Electronic technology has run amok!

The sad irony in my reading last week was that the research-based, tried and true toys for helping develop young minds are incredibly simplistic. Blocks. Cars. Kitchen. The piece that makes something unique and special is the creativity a kid puts with the toy to entertain themselves. When comparing the extremes of the toy technology spectrum it is a bit baffling how research continues to show that simple toys create more mental growth than the latest “greatest” technology.

As 2018 comes to a close I hope and pray the future holds an emphasis on getting back to the basics. Michio Kaku has given his prediction of what the future of jobs will hold, and I completely agree. The ability to create, to process, and to collaborate will be much more important than the ability to complete repetitive tasks. Gaming is in many ways the pinnacle of becoming fluent at a repetitive task. Since a gaming platform is encoded, users are confined to carrying out functions that have a pre-determined result.

Now whether or not their is an argument about gaming being necessary to stay relevant in digital society might carry some weight, but that is a a topic for another time. Peace.

Are You Listening?

A soft, steady click. Not more than the light click of a spacebar.

This little click is all it took to cause a week-long headache of a recurring battery failure on our Ford Explorer. A headache that peaked when the dead battery caused our son to be late for his first day of pre-school.

The issue in diagnosing the problem was the battery was fine to drive from Grand Rapids to North of Detroit, then the next morning it was dead. After recharging it was fine for a day. Then dead again. After recharging again we drove back to Grand Rapids with no trouble. Finally, another full day later the battery was dead on pre-school day #1. Continue reading

The Four Tendencies

A recent road trip allowed for some much needed audiobook time. This time around I gave a listen to The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. Certainly in the non-fiction self-help genre, but an interesting listen from the start.

In a nutshell there are four tendencies which people tend to naturally fall into. In the book there is a printed version of a tendency quiz, or there is an online version (you will need to give an email address to get the result). Continue reading

Human Being, not Human Doing

Warning: Hypocrite at the keyboard!

My message in this post is to find the happiness to just be. This should come naturally to us as human beings but it seems like somewhere in history we started to try and become human doings instead of human beings. Admittedly, I have not figured out how to unlock the secret to full happiness while just being. I know this level of fulfillment and happiness is possible. I just feel far from achieving this balance. 

In a fitting turn of fate, this blog post has been in the queue getting limited attention for the past few months. Whenever I would think about sitting down to type out thoughts on this topic I also started to think about all the things I “had to do”.  Continue reading

Unique Life Feels- ULFs

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller

I am thankful for feelings. The ability to feel happiness, sadness, frustration, relief, contentment, discomfort; all of these feelings remind me I am Alive. I believe in life there is a balance to emotions. For each high there is a low, for every ebb there is a flow. It has not always felt this way.

In high school I worked at Chuck E. Cheese and really enjoyed that job. One day at work I was in a particularly cheerful mood and I remember a team-member asking me “What are you on?” and I honestly replied, Continue reading

On Target, but No Bullseye… Yet…

In this clip from CNBC Tony Dwyer is credited with making a prediction on January 25 that the stock market would pull back. My Rhino Market  post was on January 17… There are a couple key differences between myself and Mr. Dwyer.

  1. I believe I saw a trend and took a chance, Mr. Dwyer has years of experience and credentials in the financial world.
  2. I am a public school teacher and probably make 1/10th (if I’m lucky) of what Mr. Dwyer does.

Continue reading

Delivering Happiness

Tony Hsieh (pronounced shay) is the CEO of Zappos, an incredibly popular online shoe site. In his book Delivering Happiness, Hsieh walks through his entrepreneur career in an informal and biographical way that draws the reader (or listener) in and is very encouraging to anyone hoping to bet on themselves and find success. Hsieh’s journey to a current net worth of $840 million is not purely a tale of “hard work pays off” nor is it the story of “the underdog winning the championship”. Hsieh’s business biography up to the point of this writing is exciting and stems back to his youth.  As a dad of two young boys I wonder if I have the courage, and trust, to let my sons experiment with success the same way Hsieh’s parents allowed him to try several money making ideas before even graduating high school. Continue reading