Today, I heard an interview on the radio with Naomi Riley. She is the author of a new book, Be the Parent, Please.
As I listened, I wanted to jump through the radio and high five her. I also was kicking myself because I could have written this book. It’s everything I believe as a parent AND makes up many of the observations I have made through the years, especially being a teacher.
First, why is it every parents’ goal to entertain their child? Why is it the goal of these parents, ergo, to be their friend? God forbid if a child has to sit through five minutes of grocery shopping, or driving in a car. Not to mention sitting in a restaurant. Gosh, when I was little (oh, I sound like that person now!!) we had to entertain ourselves and serendipitously our imaginations were ignited! We grew brain cells from having to think up something to do ON OUR OWN with OUR OWN BRAINS; not some screen that does all the thinking for us.
Second, what is wrong that a child must constantly be busy? Is it not OK for a child to have to figure out what to play with? Is it my job to create the menu? NO! It’s hers/his. I can goad him/her into trying this or that, but the last thing I’ll do is solve the “what do I do now?” dilemma. Sheesh. Sure, I’ll just sit him/her in front of a video, show, or game and have him/her zone out. No wonder children these days feel entitled. They also are ADD, anxious and filled with no ability to relax. I wonder why.
Our society has let technology become the parent and now we are seeing the degradation of our childrens’ minds. Shame on us! I have chosen not to be part of the problem. I want my child to be “the device” in that she is the one that is the playmate or the entertainment committee. She (or he) provides the ability to figure something out NOT SIRI or “OK GOOGLE…figure this out for me.”
I go to restaurants often (family friendly ones) and 99% of the time, the child is zoned out, staring out an iPad or phone. Shoot, he/she is sometimes laying in the booth completely stoned on screens. The ability for this child to be successful in life with a decent conversation or a dialogue is being ripped from him/her. He/she has been hijacked.
I am glad to say that this has NEVER come out of my daughter’s mouth:
“Can I watch ____?” (She knows she gets an allotted time daily and that is it. After that, there is no “More.”)
Also, she is CONSTANTLY thinking up creative things to do or make. She takes what she has and turns them into characters, ideas, or toys. I am in awe of her brain.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Suffice it to say, I’m so glad this book has been written. I pray that many will read it, and I pray that parents will wake up and ENGAGE their children in board games, discussions, and plain old imaginary play. It does a brain good. (Not to mention building relationships).
We only have 18 or so precious years to have this dynamos in our midst. MAKE THE MOST OF IT AND BE INTENTIONAL!!!