Thursday, October 11, 2012

Here and Now

How often parents and teachers are complaining about the lake of patience children have?
remember? The here and now that get on your nerve?
When they are little, we think it will pass, this behavior being part of the babies behavior who still need to learn to wait. But instead of getting better, it can become worse...

Just look around and see. Technology is a great thing, no doubt about it, but what happen when it is technology who command the human and not the opposite?

As I was going to school to pick up my children, listening to some news show on the radio and looking around, I noticed that all the parents around me were on the phone! Some were speaking, some were texting, some were obviously scrolling to find something on their smartphone. All of them were with their head down.  

One of the mom was opening the door to her little girl, still speaking on the phone, she had no time for a "Hi honey, how was your day?" She was simply completely absorbed by her conversation.
I felt sad for her and her little girl and started wondering: could she have wait before answering that call? Is that so urgent? Like if a bomb was going to be launched and the decision of saying yes or no could not wait a few more minutes?

Did you notice that when their cell phone ring, most people said "sorry" and pick it up. I always wonder if their voice-mail is on strike? Why don't they simply let their voice-mail do its job in the first place and then check to see if the matter is really super urgent?

For example, this mom could have pick up her daughter nicely, enjoy a bit of conversation with her driving home and then check her voice-mail to see if she really had to call back shortly or not.
But no, as all those parents around me, she had to pick up the phone, she could not wait: here and now!

Our world is going faster and faster and we are loosing control. we are just following the flow instead of controlling it. Life without cell phone is not that long ago, may be 15 years ago? We all had answering machine and we all used to not be on call. We were taking more time to think may be?

Anyway, what kind of example is that? How can we be surprised then that our children are getting more impatient about everything. 

I saw a commercial today about a smartphone, I think, or about the technology behind it, I forgot. But the script was showing a dad always travelling who was able to communicate with his daughter over the years because of that technology. Is that so?

Do you really think that  dads were not calling their daughter before?
Ok, they were calling them from hotel or public cabin, it was less comfortable and true, they were not showing them anything as they did not have a camera in the phone. But they were may be talking more, like in this commercial, the dad was showing with his smartphone the surprise he was getting for his daughter: a guitar. I guess that the same dad without a cellphone would have describe the guitar instead of showing it. Confusion can come from commercial. Children may easily think that he can be a great dad because he has a smartphone and this is exactly the ambiguity that is used by the advertiser.

The cult of the here and now is everywhere and the children are born in it. They never saw a world without cellphone, internet. And advertiser are also showing them a world were they can wish and get whatever they want... oh well, sure they need also money as there is no genie in the lamp...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Great story from a 4 years old's mama

This morning a mom ran to me with open arms and a big smile, she said "you saved my life". I was really excited to know how.
Last week, we were chatting on the parking lot of our gym. She was telling me that her 4 years old boy really love to watch television and that she would love to not have any TV at all at home. On the other end, she was also telling me that it is really convenient for her to place him in front off the TV so she has some time to do some other things, like preparing him for day care or cooking diner.

So we started chatting about it. I was actually telling her that watching TV in the morning is the worse as it put the brain in a passive mood and so may compromise the day for her little one and suggest that she simply start by not turning the TV on in the morning. She was scared by the potential reaction of her little one.

I explained to her that it was just a question of habits, when the TV is off, the children find other way to entertain themselves  She was actually scared that he would simply bother her for more attention. I suggest to explain clearly to her little one that Mommy is not available right now and that he could play with this or that instead. I suggest that she reserves some toys exclusively for this specific moment in the morning. Sure, she was not convinced at all. But she said that she will try.

And here we go, this morning she was sooo happy! It works!
Well she did it her own way, she told her little boy that she had met me and that I had explain to her that watching TV particularly in the morning was going to make his brain to mushy and that it will not develop really well anymore so it will be better to not turn the TV on. Her son simply said OK. And did not ask for TV later, not even in the afternoon!

I was very excited to share this story with you. And very impressed by her little boy!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Computer or not for pre-teen?

I had a very interesting discussion with one of my friend today. Our children are 10 years old. Mine have their own computer, they have an email and an Iphone that they use as an Ipod touch.
My friend does not want her daughter to have her own computer and even if she did create an email address for her, she does not let her use it. She is extremely reluctant to leave her daughter access that whole technology.

In my family we are very comfortable with new technology. What I mean by that is that both my husband and I are using computer to work. So it is true that computer are always on in the house. TV is off but computer is on. It is a fact that children learn by example. So it seems more logic to me to teach them how to...

As I said since I started this blog, when you live next to a lake, what do you do to protect your children: build a wall between your house and the lake or teach them how to swim?

My position is to teach them how to swim.

So this is why my children have their own computer, their email...
They are very familiar with the use of Ipad, Ipod, youtube, research on the internet... They know what is facebook and what can be dangerous about it.

I chose to teach them and be with them when they use those new technologies. I stay extremely vigilant as I do not want them to waste time with it.

Here is how I see it, all those technologies are tools, using those tools is not bad, being used or manipulated by them is.

I believe that learning the proper way to use new technology is a fair choice and that the time allowed to those is the key. Real life must be most of our kids life: playing with other, spending time with family and friends, reading, practicing sport and art, hanging out, dreaming...

In our house we do not have any video games, our children know some of them as they did play them in friends house. But they do not care about them. As my son put it when he sit at the piano to practice "this is my video-game". In other word, they have other interest.

And in any case, as they do not have time to watch TV, they do not have much time to spend on the computer either.