I look around and see kids absorbed in electronics. If there’s nothing to watch or no games to play suddenly there’s “nothing to do!” I refuse to get cable or allow computers in the kids room, and utterly refuse to buy them iAnythings. I hear complaints that all the other kids got Kindle Fire’s or iPads, or iPod Touch.
“That’s nice, but y’all break everything. Not happening.”
Here’s my dirty little secret: even if they didn’t break everything electronic I still wouldn’t buy them these things. Sure, gadgets are cool and awesome. I like the few that I own. The thing is I want to force them to use this little thing called an imagination. I want them to read and create their own little adventures. Sure, there are scientific studies supporting the benefit and correlation to that “thinking outside the box” that get people ahead in a highly competitive work world. Exercise is also important, but my stick thin kids are not an any danger right now of growing obese. I make them ride bikes and run around the yard, and walk, and all manner of things. Believe it or not, they still have energy after doing all of that!
More importantly, I believe that is FUN and that perhaps one of these days they’ll play without trying to kill each other. Playing on their own little handheld game systems may keep them from bothering each other, but it doesn’t form friendships either.
A storm blew through a few days ago and knocked a giant pine limb down. I didn’t get around to dragging it off the fence until today. The kids claimed it as a “toy”. It became a four-headed dragon, or maybe one headed, depending on which child you asked. They fought off crusaders and fungus. I believe the dragon split into two pieces at one point and Miss Diva decided the dragons should marry. I don’t want to think about the genetics of that. There was a dragon herd at one point as well, and which end was the head became a heated debate.
The entire time while I weeded the garden, not once did a child say, “There’s nothing to do!” Why? Because there be dragons here!