School's out for summer, but not necessarily outside

Monday, May 30, 2016

When asked "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?" American entertainer Alice Cooper answered: "There's two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you're just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you're sitting there and it's like a slow fuse burning."

The answer inspired him to create a song, "School's Out," that in three minutes captured that frenzied moment of anticipation school children face while waiting for summer vacation. Since 1972 the rock anthem has echoed across the nation as children left pencils, books and teachers behind to play.

Forty years ago, back when children played outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports, hide-and-seek and building forts, the masters of imaginary games created their own form of play that didn't require costly equipment or parental supervision.

Fast forward to 2016, instead of rushing outside into the sunshine, most children stay inside air-conditioned homes with some type of technology to entertain themselves until school begins again the fall.

Playing is vital for childhood development. Children learn how to work out problems, develop relationships/social skills, discover who they are, how the world works and where they fit into it. Playing is a creative time to build confidence, develop physical skills and learn basic skills in a fun way. Just because it's summer, doesn't mean the learning stops when playing begins.

I guess childhood isn't what it used to be.

In 1950, Time Magazine printed an article, "Kiddies in the Old Corral," that argued the infatuation with television, especially by the youth of the day, "threatened to change Americans into creatures with eyeballs as big as cantaloupes and no brain at all."

Well, here we are more than 60 years later and it hasn't happened yet. But, with everyone's attention locked into the technology of today and clamoring for even more electronic gadgets to entertain us, the future could be a no-brainer after all.

When people are using technology such as computers, games and TV they are not interacting together. This summer -- while school's out --- enjoy a few technology-free days, and maybe you'll find more than three minutes of fun.