After a week of no cell service or internet while at my family reunion in West Virginia, I’m now back to a world of college touring, conference calls, interview planning, essay drafting, book reading, summer-mathing, and lots of emailing. Once my phone finally got service again, I had 154 texts and 94 emails to go through.
Every year when I go to Capon (oddly enough they have a website now), I end up blogging afterwards about how much I surprisingly enjoy the fact that there is no connection to the outside world. It’s nice to de-stress by unplugging every now and then, and it’s the one place I can go and have a good reason to just not respond to things for a little. I play outside with friends everyday doing everything from badminton to hiking to shuffle board to just playing cards. I try not to worry about all of the millions of things I have to get done by next school year. I have talks about life with people of all ages that I’ve known since birth. It’s just a great time spent with fun friends and family, delicious home cooked food, and tons of space to wander and wonder in.
The odd thing is how few places there are on Earth without wifi and cell service. I was reading a book called The Circle that was pondering the effect of technology on people, and describing how eventually there will likely be no way of escaping it’s grasp. Is that ok? It’s not a “good vs. bad” thing, because it’s both really, but I guess the question is whether or not we want this to be our future reality. Do we want to live in a world where we can’t escape technology?
As much as I love Capon, I know it’s hard for many people to visit who have jobs where they are expected to have various conference calls, or do payroll, or accomplish some task. Not everyone takes the week off to go to Capon and therefore, some people still have to climb up to the golf course and try to find a spot that get’s service in order to keep up with the rest of the world. So there are the good and bad sides to no technology, but eventually there may not be a choice at all; what will we do then?
It’s amazing how you can be out of shape from playing the flute. I haven’t played in a few weeks because I’ve been at the gym more than I’ve been at home, but I plan on playing in a talent show next week so I was practicing today. I played some a few days ago as well, and after the two practices I can physically notice how I haven’t practiced in a while; my arms and mouth just can’t hold out for as long as usual without feeling funny. I lost some of my flute stamina that I was so proud of building up during this last school year.
Really everything is like this, where if we don’t practice for a while than it takes longer to get back to where we were, it’s just that some activities we notice it more than others.
For example we have a young gymnast on team who is a really hard worked, but she was highly considering quitting because after having a few weeks off we think she was pretty sore and noticeably wasn’t where she use to be which was making her feel bad physically and mentally. However, between her mom and the coaches we’ve convinced her to keep coming to practice at least for the summer and have started to notice her enjoying herself again since she’s been practicing.
Now in this case, even more than my flute incident, the effects of time off are quite obvious, but they aren’t always. The mind is another muscle that can get sore after too much time off, but when properly exercised you find yourself enjoying using the muscle.
I’ve read more books so far this summer than I have for pleasure in a long time. I was walking through Barnes and Nobel the other day and was helping my brother look for books when I started seeing all of these old books I remember reading. Some I really liked, and others I really didn’t, but all of them brought back found memories of being young and having time to just read.
My brother is not so found of reading, but we keep trying to get him to read. We had a challenge last week to see which of the two of us could finish our book first, but he tried complaining that I was a better reader. (Funny thing being that I’m not too fast of a reader I just actually take time to read.) So my mom pointed out to him how you only become a better reader by reading more. Then he ended up finishing his book last week despite thinking he couldn’t (though I did beat him), and in fact he really enjoyed it and felt good about finishing so he started another.
It’s rare that you see so immediately a cause and effect situation like that, but playing the flute, our young gymnast, and my family reading challenge reminded me of the importance of constantly practicing our skills if we hope to maintain and improve them; both the physical and mental.
If you read some of my summer posts, you may recall the family reunion place in West Virginia called Capon that mine and many other families go to every year over 2nd week of July. We have a lot of really close friends because of Capon and we usually only get to see them once a year, but since we were all ready in Virginia, we decided to visit one of our good family friends that have 13 and 11 year old boys.
It’s funny because while we are at Capon you don’t really know everyone’s age or what grade they are in necessarily because it doesn’t matter. Naturally, you tend to form strong relationships with people within a few years of you, but that just depends on the maturity level and interests of different people.
My mom compares Capon to a smaller version of Dirty Dancing and Nerverneverland. It’s a close community of friends and family where you are always a kid growing up and there is always so much to do and explore, but “What happens at Capon, stays at Capon” as we say. I always love Capon, and I always learn something new which is often specifically due to the different ages of my friends.
It makes me curious as to why schools are divided by age rather than interest and maturity. It isn’t even like the system for what grade you are in is universal. In New York the cut off is December 31, but in Georgia it is September 1, and in Virginia it is September 30, and in Ohio it is October 1. That’s just a few, but non of them are the same. Where do these random cut off dates come from? Why are these the magic dates? It’s silly if you ask me.
(Warning: I learned all of this from hearing stories from my mom, so I don’t know how accurate my memory will be.)
In New York I had started school early and was set to go into Kindergarden a year early because everyone else in my twos group was in that cut off group and my birthday is at the beginning of January. New York apparently makes exceptions like that as long as there is a teacher recommendation. However, when we moved to Georgia in March I would have been 2 as of the last September 1st, so they wanted to put me in a twos class rather than a pre-k like where I should have been. My mom supposedly tried asking teachers if I could be tested or anything so I could get moved ahead like I would have been because she knew I could be, but in Georgia they wouldn’t make the same exceptions.
If a child is capable why should a number hold them back? (Sound familiar…numbers…grades…holding students back…) In the “real world” people are never all the same age in a work force, and it isn’t unlikely for younger people to have higher up jobs. It is about talent and drive and self-motivation; that is what puts you at a certain “level” so to say, so why are school grade levels determined by age?