Thursday, February 3, 2011

Power of Print: a moment of clarity

Full disclosure - I am an avid Apple fan. I use a MacBook Pro, iPhone, iTunes, and iPad. I would love to own an iTV. And, although my first instinct when I read the news about the first dedicated iPad newspaper app, The Daily, was excitement to see what kinds of interactive graphics would be displayed, allowing me to browse deeper into the internet; in the back of my head I could hear my grandfathers words: “Jilly, enjoy this time, these are the best days of your life.”

Reading the newspaper, the paper newspaper, has become one more example of the lack of time I take to “enjoy today.” We get so busy thinking of what comes next, that we forget to enjoy the moment. I was reminded this weekend about the power of print, when my family was sitting around the dinner table, while my husband was cooking dinner. My oldest child, age 7, picked up the New York Times Book Review and noticed a particularly intriguing diagram of a human brain, which piqued her interest enough to begin reading aloud to the family. For her, flipping through the newspaper was likely an imitation of two book loving, librarian parents. She loves being able to taste a bit of the “secrets of the adult world” now that she is a fluent reader! She began to read “A Lion in the Undergrowth: a neuroscientist offers evolutionary explanations for the workings of the mind” by Anthony Gottlieb out loud.
“The men of old, reported Socrates, saw madness as a gift that provides the knowledge or inspiration.”
It was then that my five year old child blurted out “Oooooh INSPIRATION… that’s Barack Obama!” My husband and I immediately looked at each other barely able to contain our awe. My five year old has clearly been paying close attention to adult discussions, and I can only imagine what he will articulate once he is actually able to read the newspaper on his own! A balanced discourse is only available to the literate, and a newspaper is a critical piece of our democracy. Children are like sponges, eager to learn all we teach them, and the written word only expands their world even further.

Yes, Papa, these are the best days of my life. Sometimes it takes moments like this to remind me to take the time to enjoy life, the old fashioned way. Perhaps reading the newspaper in print is not really old fashioned, just simply smart. You see, amidst all the buzz about social networking online (another disclaimer- I am a HUGE proponent of social networking!) in my family, we shared a beautiful educational moment, as two children were reading, listening, reflecting, and ultimately growing simply by having a “physical” newspaper available for them to peruse.

I will continue to explore technology; the never ending exciting, cutting edge things to learn; however, I hope within all these new arenas available, I don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the “experience” of print. Thank you to my insightful children, and my grandfather’s wisdom, today, I will enjoy the moment.