This I Believe

Amy - Iowa City, Iowa
Entered on August 28, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children
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I believe in the basics. Simplicity. Living in the moment. I may not always live what I believe; it is too easy to fall into the trap, the need to be wired, or wireless, always connected, ahead of the game. I am reminded of the importance, the necessity, of basic living when I watch my 2-year-old son.

To my son, Henry, blackberry is a yogurt flavor, not a communications device on which executives send e-mail at all hours of the day or night, on weekends and vacations.

To him, a chip is of the chocolate variety, usually found in warm cookies during snack time. His sort of chip is not of the computer kind, which turns normal people into Web-warped zombies.

A child’s world still operates under the rule that one must do one thing at a time, one after another. Steps – take one at a time. Same for putting on pants, one leg, then the other. Play Weebles first, then toy trucks. After that, it’s on to lunchtime, followed by naptime, followed by snack time, followed by playtime again.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the world pressures him into multi-tasking. The other day, driving down our suburban street, I saw a young girl, maybe 8 years old, riding a bubble gum-pink bicycle along the sidewalk while cradling a cell phone against her ear.

I almost hate to ask, but I wonder whether my child’s upcoming pre-school curriculum will involve learning to create PowerPoint presentations on toddler-sized laptops while surfing the ‘Net for the latest Bob the Builder news and mapping a flow chart for the best-practices method of completing classroom chores.

I enjoy watching Henry and his friends revel in learning ABCs and 1-2-3s, simple and straightforward, and at their own pace. To them, “networking” is just a playdate. Their “core competencies” would be sleeping through the night without a binky and keeping a Pampers pull-up dry for an entire day.

Too many adults live a life of corporatespeak. We spout our boardroom buzzwords, talking about how we’re leveraging synergies, developing mission statements, determining deliverables, looking for the value-added, searching for the bottom line.

I watch Henry squish Play-Doh between his fingers, smash the inked end of a marker against paper, try to pop bubbles as I blow life into them from the round end of a plastic wand. I marvel at his keen interest in such a mundane task as pushing pennies one by one into his piggy bank, then emptying the bank and beginning again with the plunk, plunk, plunk of penny into pig.

If only life were that simple. It could be. It is.

I do believe in getting back to the basics. But what’s the value-added? What’s the bottom line? If I have to ask, I’m in far worse shape than I realized.