Sunday, February 26, 2017


I started teaching this week.  What am I teaching?  Writing, of course.  I'm doing a 7 week course I created called "Sailing The Seven Cs" which is based on my segment of a how-to writing book.

I arrived at the college early so I could discuss another project with the department head and make sure I had enough time for lunch before my 1pm class.

Okay, I arrived early and she was in another class.  As I sat in the lounge, I was able to watch other students.  That's when I say the latest (at least for me) in multi-tasking.

The young man had a small electronic notepad, Kindle or iPad and was watching the news on it. At the same time, he had another smaller electronic device he was playing a game on. He also had a set of earbuds and I thought he was listening to the game.  I was wrong.  I heard a cellphone ring and he pulled it out of his pocket which had the cord to the earbuds. He yanked the earbuds out of his ears and I heard music - either rap or something with a heavy beat.  In my ignorance, I listen to rock and roll - basically 50s, 60s, 70s, and some 80s stuff, new age, classical, show tunes and country. I'm eclectic but just haven't gotten into rap or heavy metal and/or grunge.  Anyway, he started talking to somebody, grabbed the news playing unit and the screen changed to what appeared to be another news channel.  Just as quickly, he picked up an earbud, stuck it in his ear and immediately placed the other one on the speaker of his cellphone. "Listen to this!"  Again, it was music but I couldn't really make it out.

From what I could tell, the conversation between him and his friend revolved around the music he was listening to and the news.  AND, all during this time, he also continued to play the game while at the same time, involving another student who was sitting a nearby table into the news aspect.

Sorry, but this old guy's mind was blown.  How does one multi-task so many different things at once?

I was visiting my #4 son's house a while back and his 6 and 7 year old daughters were watching some show on TV.  I, for some reason, thought it to be an animated movie, like Veggie Tales or whatnot.

Again, WRONG!

It was Shopkins.  The segments are about 60 seconds, some shorter, some longer, and then it is over and a new segment comes on.

We say our children don't stay focused on one thing for any length of time. As an adult (parent) have you watched what they watch?  Just because it is a "children's" station or show, doesn't mean that it is automatically the best thing to watch.

Years ago, I was home sick and was helping my wife watch the first our grandchildren. They wanted to watch their TV shows.  My wife put them on.  I was amazed at the shortness of the scenes and the variance of each scene. I just sat there shaking my head in disbelief.

On the way to work the next day, the passenger riding next to me got up to leave and asked if I'd like to read the magazine, otherwise she would toss it.  I agreed to read it.  Inside was an article that explained how children's TV shows today are designed to keep their interest and to keep them from wandering away from the TV.


Short scenes, voice changes, lighting variances - everything plays to the child to keep his mind occupied.  In order to do that, everything is a short burst. The child won't leave the TV for fear of missing something.

Think about that!!

You go to the theater and during the movie, you want popcorn or a drink - you get up, hurry to get whatever and race back to your seat. You might miss something but more than likely, not too much and can quickly pick up the flow.

Not so with a children's TV show. By the time they've toddled to the other side of the room, they could have missed a whole episode - hence they stay put.

Is this part of the multi-tasking that I saw at college last week?  Are the young children growing up in a world where everything must happen in 30 seconds, no more than 60 seconds or lose their interest?

When I was a child, I'd sit under a big tree and listen to the wind blow through the leaves or watch the wind play atop the fields of golden wheat - mesmerized for great lengths of time.  Today when I attempt to show this to my grandchildren, it is a quick glance followed by "That's nice" and they move on.  I could read a phrase in a book and get lost in the reverie as I pondered its meaning and how it made me feel. It could be a couple of minutes, even five or ten minutes, maybe longer.

I consider myself multi-tasking when I write, listen to music, stare out the window from time to time and sometimes chew gum.  But, watching the news, playing a game, listening to music and talking to a friend on the phone and the guy at the next table?  That is taking multi-tasking to a whole new height.

Until next I ramble on...