A Real Life: What Childhood Once Was and Still Should Be
by Dawn Poulterer Woods, ScreenStrong Ambassador
In days with lots of words and opinions, I have felt highly unmotivated to post thoughts on any digital platform. But this poem came to me yesterday in a matter of 20 minutes. I write it for parents of kids growing up in the technology age—don’t forget to teach your children the best things about childhood.
A Real Life
He called it a disorder,
and he meant it.
They want outlets for
cables and cords
supported by dependable,
with chargers pumping
the glow of screens,
the only light they need.
and the ping of another
We explored goldenrod fields
just beyond the property line.
We found soft stones
to skip on the reservoir.
We were on the hunt, always,
for turtles, goose eggs,
and signs of deer nearby.
We really did rake a pile of leaves
to jump into
before setting it on fire.
We really did set traps,
with long strings leading to our steady fingers.
We hid behind the bush
to see what bird we could catch,
only to set it free.
We really did chase fireflies
before stretching out on the cold ground
under shooting stars…
competing with each other to find
We really did build a fort
out of weed-entangled posts
from a old,deconstructed split-rail fence.
We really did design a secret room
in the loft of the barn,
with whatever we could haul up the ladder.
Bats flapped and darted above us…
We really did get called back indoors
by a cowbell on the side porch,
where we stocked the wood pile
We really did stay out in the winter cold for hours,
and ride our bikes on the frozen lake,
engulfed in the silence of the snow.
No one knew where we were.
No one tracked us.
We imagined stories and scenarios
and we lived them.
and then we tried it.
We explored in real time…
we felt the wind, rain, snow, and sunshine
touch our faces.
We smelled the dirt,
and tasted the stem of the honeysuckle flower.
No one could diagnose us
with Nature Deficit Disorder.
We didn’t have plastic playgrounds
made to code.
We didn’t lock our bedroom doors
streaming Netflix in the dark.
We felt the ground under our bare feet,
and tasted blackberries off the bush.
We lived out our days
in the wonder of the earth while
our bedrooms sat vacant
waiting to give us
and dreams of the sun rising,
awakening us again to
Dawn Poulterer Woods
August 16, 2020