We don't raise our children in a vacuum. Unless one lives in a remote area, choosing to shun contact with the outside world, a certain amount of exposure to wide-spread, popular media and culture is inevitable. I don't live in the wilderness. I am raising my children in Silicon Valley, birthplace of the silicon chip and the internet, home of Apple, Facebook and Google.
I am more restrictive than most parents locally regarding how much access my children have to media; and here, I'm really talking about my older son because my toddler has no access to any of the computers or other electronic devices in the house. Although we don't own any dedicated gaming devices (DS, Wii, etc...) I do allow my older son some access to games on the computer via the internet. Even the limited access I allow him sometimes makes me uncomfortable. I have enforced breaks from his access to the computer for weeks and even months at a time, however, a total media ban in our milieu, in our world, in our culture creates a feeling of imbalance also. And so I strive towards helping him (and myself) find a balance we are both comfortable with regarding the presence of popular media in our home and in our lives.
The thing that grieves me is this -- today my son told me that he has a few friends at school who spend their playtime talking about their computer games. Because my son is not current with the latest computer-game trends, he has nothing to add to the conversation and so has been feeling left out. On the one hand, I am appalled that children would spend their recess sitting around talking about computer games instead of running around and playing, and on the other hand I feel sad that my son is in this position.
The dilemma now gnaws at me: do I relax my standards and allow my son more access so that he can "keep-up" socially, or do I hold to my feelings and beliefs about media access and children? I know that there is a grey area of compromise someplace in the middle, but I find balancing these matters tenuous and tricky. An "all-or-nothing" approach would be so much simpler, but an "all-or-nothing" tactic is not really an option.
How do you handle such things? What do you do? Do you know of a way to balance such matters? Any thoughts, ideas or feelings would be most welcome...
To you who were brought to birth by your mother, to you who have been loved by your mother...
And to those of you who are mothers, too...
Happy (slightly belated) Mother's Day...
I spent the best part of my weekend preventing my younger (born under the water-sign of the crab) from fearlessly flinging himself into the sea, and watching my older (born under a sign of air) run wild with the wind.
How did you spend your weekend? Wherever you were, whatever you did, I hope it was wonderful.
Last night I read that Maurice Sendak, author & illustrator of the books Chicken Soup with Rice, Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen and so many others, had died. Faith Pray of the blog Sacred Dirt has written a lovely post in honor of Mr. Sendak, and below I offer my meager tribute -- a re-post of something I wrote back in October:
I will read
A book so fine,
reading chicken soup
I've lost count of how many times I've already read this to my wee
Bloom today, and I expect to read it a few dozen times more before the
day is done. He stands by the rocking chair and pats the seat,
indicating that I should sit down. He chants, "BAH-bah-bah," which
means he wants me to read a book with rhymes, and then he hands me one
of our tired, battered, ancient copies. And so we begin again...
reading chicken soup
Thank you Mr. Sendak. You will always be remembered... with love.
We planted our little fairy garden in a terracotta pot beneath some smaller pots of herbs...
This year, my Wee Bloom helped me refurbish our fairy garden...
He was as helpful as only a 22 month old toddler can be!
You may notice that our welcome sign and flag banners from last year have been replaced by beaded lanterns. A small turtle & tiny bluebird have taken up residence; they seem happy in the garden & I hope the fairies will be happy with the renovations, too...