Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Relating With The Environment And Personal Growth

Chaplain at one of the Catholic schools in Incheon, he frequently uses the phrase, "I get angry" in his talks at Mass. He tells us why in his article in the Sunday Bulletin.

He remembers when, as a child not only at vacation time but after school was over for the day, he would be outside running around, busy at  playing. His father even now brings to his attention the times he would come home with his face dirty from playing in the dirt. There was no Internet then, no hand phones, keyboards, and equipment for games, but they had a network of friends that allowed them to play hide and seek, make  human monuments, play cards and many other ways to "have fun," that now,looking back, brings a smile to his face, along with the wonderful memories.

That is why anger takes hold of him when he sees what is happening today to our children. There are few reasons to play anymore, he says, so they go into smoked-filled PC rooms.  Returning home, they get before the computer with their headphones on and get lost in the world of games. When he gets a chance to talk to  parents, he entreats  them to get their children to play. They have no easy way to get rid of the stress that has built up during the day, so he asks parents to  prepare an atmosphere that would encourage them to play and, better still, for the parents to play with them.

When children become adults, he says, they need something to look back on  which will make them smile. It is a  stimulant  for life. They have plenty of things that bother them, are difficult, and cause pain; we can't deny the unavoidable difficulties of life. It is the moments of happiness, however, that gives them the courage and the hope to go on. Good memories of childhood years are important, and giving our children opportunities to play will help create these good memories.

We know how important it is to have good memories of our childhood, and parents are in a position to make this a reality. Adults will not look back with a big smile on their face because of the time they spent at the computer when they were children.  The computer may have many benefits for study, increasing attention span and getting good marks, but it will not make our children more social or add to their happiness or humanity.

Parents should be concerned with the whole person: The mind, the body, and the spirit, seeing that each is developed as much as possible. The Computer obviously does not help the body and can be of little help in bringing forth the spiritual world of the child. This has to be supplemented with the wise direction of the parents and not be left to the whim of the child.

We need to create an inviting environment where children can relate easily with other children in play, take trips to the ocean or the mountains, fish, watch butterflies or clouds in the sky, make small sail boats, fly kites, make music, play sports, dig and plant in a garden, and all the other ways  we can enjoy the world. In recent years the physical environment has been brought to center stage of our awareness, allowing us to see more clearly its role in making us the whole person.  Head,  heart and  body, plus properly relating with the   environment will  develop the  person we are meant to be.

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