This was originally meant to be a comic about The Man, but I wanted him to write his own dialog and he fell asleep instead. Ergo: the kids.
When we were little, my mother taught us that boredom was our own fault. If we were incapable of using our brains to entertain ourselves, then that represented a sort of intellectual laziness. I had a sister and a brother, and we played together, but I also spent a lot of time alone, with my own head, which was, and continues to be, a magical place. Sometimes I still went and whined to my mother about not having anything to do, but since her response was usually along the lines of, “If you’re bored, go clean your room,” I learned not to ask her for entertainment advice. We read a lot, did puzzles and art projects, went to the park or bike riding, and made up our own games, constantly. TV was pretty limited–we didn’t have cable for the most part, and even when we did, there wasn’t that much programming for kids anyway, and even if there had been, our mother wouldn’t have let us sit in front of it all day long–so we used our imaginations.
I do worry what effect on-demand video technology has on kids. I see too many of them who are utterly incapable of filling in their own minds without a screen. Even with the ubiquitous screens, they’re still bored all the time. I mean, I like the Internet as much as the next person, possibly more, but I can also think of a million fun things to do without it. It’s a great tool; it’s a great friend. But it’s not everything.
It’s funny how when you put people–kids and adults–outside, out of reach of wifi, their whole outlook can change.
Meant to comment on this the other day because I love the truth of it so much. The neighbor children whose yard abuts my backyard must not have tv or electronic gadgets because they’re out in all weathers playing, shouting. When Cheyenne visited me, she said, “It’s kind of annoying how noisy those kids are.” I said, “Well, I love that they’re outside playing.” And she said, “Oh, yeah. You’re right. I take it back.” Sometimes I get to hear them, see the structures they build. They’re pretty imaginative.
As long as their noise is the sound of happy kids playing, I’m good. I wish these kids would go out to play, but they refuse to be unsupervised and I’ve got too much on my plate to watch/supervise their play. Is that crazy? The last thing I wanted at that age was an adult looking at me, ever, let alone while I was playing. I don’t get it. Of course, around here, if I hear someone shouting outside, it is most likely a schizophrenic homeless person arguing with himself at 2 a.m.
Not crazy at all, especially at their ages and in an enclosed yard. The youngest kid here does end up crying quite often (screeching, really), but I can also tell that it’s a drama that has probably served her quite well. They have fun and they squabble.
One more thought–when Cheyenne didn’t want to do something I wanted her to do (like go out to play unsupervised), I would tell her she had to for a limited amount of time–like 20 min. She would usually forget about the time limit bc she’d get involved in something. Kind of like putting them in the cave, you know?
Well, Cheyenne probably didn’t start shaking uncontrollably and lose the ability to walk or talk when you told her she had to do things she didn’t want to do. And I’m guessing she didn’t call your ex up afterward and complain about what a horrible parent you were for telling her to do things she didn’t like 😦 I like the cave idea, though.
You are right on all levels. It occurred to me that it might not work because you didn’t get to establish the relationship early on. It must be so hard. I don’t envy you 😦