Friend Shares Janet’s Concern, Posthumously

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With the passing of Janet Banks, our community finds itself bidding farewell to a community leader who tirelessly gave freely of her talents and effort to enhance the lives of Suffield residents. 

Beginning in 1964, and without a shred of desire to gain favor, popularity, or public recognition, her selfless contributions have, and will affect every resident of Suffield; whether it’s acknowledged or not, in perpetuity. Indeed, by setting a shining example of what’s possible –for how a single person can uplift humanity- she achieved her lifelong goal. Those of us who personally were taught, served, mentored, guided and led by her, we celebrate her life in our own actions carried forward. 

The following is an open letter she shared with me for my opinion, regarding an intention to publish it prior to health concerns, which reduced her non-stop schedule. She never discounted her trust in appealing to common decency.

Dear Fellow Residents,

Recently I noticed an article of great interest. It was about a group of noted academics and psychologists studying human behavioral science who were concerned with the long term effect of children and young adults viewing screens all the time. I was stunned to learn their findings. This consortium receives funding primarily from various humanities foundations and also the British Government. Prior to this work there were no significant existing studies or data on the subject, but mounting concern.

To sum up their current findings in a nut shell: Preoccupation with computers, video games and, particularly, handheld devices was interfering with normal brain development regarding social interaction.

Quote: “The types of interpersonal relations which directly contribute to an ability for grasping and utilizing complex social skills are stunted. These vital constructive human attributes include comprehension, intuition, empathy, and an ability to read social cues. A disturbing phenomenon for inability to recall memories without dependence on an electronic device is pervasive. The results of less time spent face to face with parents, family members and friends is increasingly manifesting attitudes of self-serving isolation. “A lack of recreation, group activities, creative arts, and self-expression shared in the company others is alarmingly becoming very prevalent. Without proactive policies from community leaders which counter these behavioral shifts in children, youth, and young families, the rapidly declining curve for sharing interpersonal contact will progress generationally.” End quote.

There has never been a better time, place, or opportunity to remedy these issues here in our own town than today, by moving forward on the Bridge Street Community Center of Suffield project as called for by voters.

Ms. First Selectman: Please do what is necessary. Do what was called for by the residents of Suffield NOW. The responsibility to act on this rests solely on you.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Banks 

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