I have to say, this first month of 2011 has been a busy one. There just seems to be a never-ending string of things to do! It is amazing. But, I am not complaining. I like being busy and, while single parenthood is never boring, it is a different feeling to be busy in the workplace and doing things outside motherhood. That said though, I find it funny how I am constantly reminded of things that are kid-related. Let me elucidate.
I grew up in a relatively comfortable home. I was educated well and I was able to travel to a few places around the world and experience different cultures and meet all kinds of people. As a result, I like to think that I have maybe an additional perspective on some things compared to others who have not had the chance to experience the same things. Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way belittling anyone or making myself bigger than who I am. I am simply saying that I believe I have a wider take on things having had a bit more experience compared to how I think I might have viewed things had my circumstances been otherwise.
Because of that, I try my best to apply what I’ve seen to how I raise my kids. I want them to be open-minded and exploratory. I want them to question and come up with their own answers and be independent. I want them to judge and treat people well and not to be so fixated on material things. I want them to be comfortable but to understand the values of patience and hard-work and not to take anything for granted. So, I try to guide them and introduce them to as much as I can and think they should be exposed to at their age, that I feel would help them develop this way. I want to give them the same chance to experience what I did growing up but I also want them to have some simple roots. I grew up in a much slower time after all and back then it was easier to sit back and see things move without getting a migraine. I have come to observe though how tough this considering what they are surrounded with today.
Do we really need all this technology?
There is so much to do, so much to see, so much you are told you should want and have that it is easy to lose track of simple things that cost you a fraction of the cost of what is suggested and adds character, develops the mind and body, and teaches the child lessons that no amount of money can buy.
Today is the age of the Internet and computers and all these high tech toys that are so attractive and do so many interesting things that it is easy to believe that you just absolutely need one and that you cannot live without one and be up-to-date. Well, I have nothing against computers and games. I actually find that a lot of the games tackle history and music very well. And, c’mon, I have blogs! But I really think there is something about books, and outdoor play, and arts and crafts for children that technology cannot teach.And this is the experience of the activity for itself, not pixelized or in HD or from a flat screen TV. I hope I will be able to properly explain what I mean. Let me try through a couple of examples.
OK, call me old-fashioned. I read somewhere that babies born this year might be reading from e-books and that speciality bookstores might be extinct in 10 years or so. Well, I think that is just sad. While you can practice your imagination reading off a tablet as well as the page, the beauty of the printed word, the smell of a book, the feel of a genuine and hand-crafted cover is something that adds dimension to your creative experience and adds something to your appreciation of the story and the story teller. It’s just something that would be lost reading from a tablet. I understand how games today are supposedly designed to add dexterity and to improve fine motor skills but how about all of us folks who became dexterous without the latest Wii game? I think we did really well and had the added benefit of healthy lungs, fit bodies, and a joy of sports and activity that I think is lacking today. And how about appreciation of nature, and smelling how fresh the air can be in a park, or watching the sun rise or set and feeling the droplets of rain on your face, all during outdoor activities. Who can say that those experiences are not treasured memories that give that special glow to an otherwise sepia image of your childhood?
The point here is that I am reminded everyday, during those pleasurable times when I am busy, how great it is to be busy and how great it is to know what it means to also be simple as well. And this is something I want for my kids too. Yes, I want them to be modern but I also want them to be unassuming and appreciative of things that they might overlook surrounded by technology. I think this is important in creating open-minded, independent, discerning, and balanced individuals.
Do you embrace technology for your children or try to promote older activities?