Look, Observe, and Experience

This past weekend, my girlfriend and I took my two boys on a drive to a country home with a pond. Living in town, we don’t always have the same experiences with nature as homes do in the country. So, I eagerly drove along the winding roads through the trees and fields that would eventually lead us to our destination. Upon arrival, I was looking forward to fishing in the pond and allowing my oldest son ride his bike freely throughout the field and long driveway. Needless to say, this is an experience that is completely different that his bike riding in town, where he is limited on both space to ride and freedom to ride without close supervision.

As I was driving along the country roads, I was taking it all in. I was admiring the natural scenery that surrounded us, while keeping a close watch for Bambi darting from the brush onto the road. Unfortunately, I noticed that my son had brought along his portable video game system and headphones for the ride. Throughout the drive, he was completely plugged in and oblivious to the world around him. It wasn’t until we arrived at our destination that he finally looked up from his screen and took off his headphones.

In my opinion, the journey to the destination is often as important, and enjoyable, as the destination itself. I believe that this can be applied to so many facets of life, to include a drive to the country on a nice day. So, I couldn’t help but think that my son had unknowingly missed out on a large part of that day’s adventures. Rather than observing and exploring the world around him, he was completely immersed in an imaginary world of a game.

You may be wondering why I didn’t just tell him to unplug and pay attention to his surroundings. Well, I believe that would have been counterproductive. The purpose of us going on this small trip was to enjoy the time away from the stresses of everyday life and relax. If this was the point of the trip, that is exactly what he was doing, albeit in a different way that I was.

As I reflected upon this over the past few days, I couldn’t help but wonder how often we all do the same thing. How much do we miss by ignoring our surroundings because we are so immersed in our own narrow view of the world around us? How many times are we so focused on our own “games” that we don’t enjoy the peacefulness that is readily available to us? Personally, I am probably guilty of this more often than not. And, I would be willing to bet that you are also.

So, what should we be doing when presented with opportunities to expand our horizons and explore the world around us? I think we should open our senses and discover the natural beauty that surrounds us. This can be just as applicable in urban environments as it is in natural countrysides. The point is that we look beyond what we are narrowly focused on and expand our experiences, which just might change the way that we view the world around us. That, I believe, would enrich our lives and improve the world for all of us.

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