In light of all of the shootings and violence, I felt that a comment was necessary. I have been very concerned about the amount of shootings, not only because of the devastation it has caused, but because there has been no discussion as to the why of it all! There is/was ONE link between all of the shooters in the last two decades…they all played video games at one level or another. But, the media and/or us, the people never want to look into that link. We just come up with more abstract reasons, look into mental instability, more gun control, and ignore what has changed with the younger generation in the last thirty years. I would like to know how many kids killed their classmates with guns in the fifties. I would like to question how many children massacred people with guns in shopping malls in the thirties. We still owned guns then, kids were still being bullied, and yet we don’t try to understand what has changed in our culture that has made our children more violent, more desensitized, more willing to take another life, and less willing to feel responsible.
It is rather strange to me when I see the different interests that children have during summer. The girls are outside coloring, blowing bubbles, and riding bikes. When they go inside they are reading books, playing school, writing stories, coloring illustrations, etc. The boys are playing sports outside or playing sports on the video consoles. I just always think to myself if that is why these boys are falling behind. Our girls are enriching their minds, and the boys are becoming zombies in front of a television set.
If you have read anything in the last three years as it pertains to boys vs. girls, or men vs. women, you have realized that girls and women are taking over in many different areas. I realize to many of you this might seem great, and to others this might seem like a tragedy, but the truth is: it is the reality. If you have any doubts about who is getting ahead, and who is coming out on top, then just look at the statistics of females that are running Fortune 500 companies vs. just two years ago. As of 2009 there were NO female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, and now they are up by 15%. That is incredible. I believe we really need to look at why there is such a break-down with our male race, and how that is allowing the female race to really succeed!
It seems to me that parents feel as though they have no power when it comes to their children. What I mean by that is, I have talked to many parents who feel as though they have no control in their child’s classroom, what goes on in their every day activities with classmates, or with teachers. I don’t feel that parents should be micromanaging their child’s life, however, when things don’t go as planned in their child’s school life, parents should feel as though they have some control over the next step. I have many friends that are teachers, so before I continue I do want to say that there are MANY good teachers out there, but just not enough. With that being said, I think parents need to remember that they are the customer, they are the ones that should feel satisfied. I have been reading lately that moms are the biggest marketers for companies these days. Toy companies are having them try out products at parties, and they are getting paid good money to test the toys, talk about the toys, and spread the word by mouth about the products they are trying to sell. Let’s just think about that for a second, moms have such an immense amount of power that big companies are paying them good money just to talk?! I know that as a previous teacher myself, it is always the squeaky wheel that gets the oil, not the child that has parents that are willing to go along with whatever. We need to remember that as parents we have much more control over things than we realize. This goes for sporting events, extra curricular activities, school, home life, and what we want our children to grow up knowing and learning. I think we, as parents, are in this mode of pure survival. I have heard myself and other parents I know that just say, “Let’s just get through today, this week, this season, this year.” It is not the frame of mind that we need to be teaching, preparing, nurturing or taking time to do what is right for ourselves or our family. We are not thinking of building character, or preparing them to be the adults that we would like to see. We are just trying to make it through the day. That is a scary thought for the future of our country as a whole. If we are not developing children that we would like to see running this country, then what are we doing? I hope that parents remember that the biggest power comes from numbers. The more that we can band together with a common goal or thought, the more we can accomplish separately.
One idea I had for curing those slow moments after school was to get my daughter and all of the kids in the neighborhood into building a butterfly garden. We had a patch of dirt in the very corner of our yard that I allowed them to till and then bought seeds for about a dollar. They thought this was a great idea. They have plans for when the butterflies come. I also got two butterfly nets for $1.00 so that they can catch them and record what they caught so they can look up what kinds of butterflies are coming to visit. I thought this could lead into all sorts of activities. It didn’t take very long, and this kind of garden can be planted in a pot for those who don’t have backyards. I spent less than $3.00 and the activity is hopefully going to continue to entertain them through out the summer!
Since we have had more time with the electronics off this week we have found other ways to spend our time. The weather has been great, so one thing I did was teach the kids in the neighborhood how to play Four Square! I ended up getting the whole neighborhood into it, and even had adults out there playing. I started it yesterday and had all of the kids begging me to play again today. My first idea is to get out, meaning…..get outside and play! It is super fun, great for healthy kids, and gets everyone involved!
This week is a National Turn Off the TV Week. I think that it would be great for all parents to try and challenge themselves for one week and see if they can do it. I think we, as parents, use the television as a means to make things easier on ourselves, and I am not going to say that it doesn’t help me when I greatly need to fold laundry, do the dishes, cook dinner, etc. HOWEVER, my husband and I tried to do this starting yesterday with our daughter, and forced her to entertain herself for awhile in her room. She played dress-up, wrote a story, and even decorated her room. I was able to cook dinner, and my husband put together some furniture. We got our desired time, and our child found some great things to do! I am going to challenge all parents to just try this week. I will be posting new and fun ideas to help encourage you this week.
Just remember, we stifle the imagination of our kids when we don’t force them to face boredom! When a child becomes bored, that is when the most creative ideas bloom!!! Good luck!
I just recently set up a playdate for my daughter with a boy about the same age. I saw immediately the difference in their desire to play video games. When asked what they wanted to do my daughter mentioned 10 different things, and video games were low on the list. He mentioned a few things and video games were first on the list. I have noticed this about the kids in the neighborhood, as well. I wonder why this is?! I am going to research this, so stay tuned!
There are all types of games out there, it is up to us to weed through those that are damaging and those that are positive learning experiences for our children. There are the dancing games that teach our children to be active as well as following directions, there are the Sims games that teach us how to build and cooperate, but of course even those games have a negative aspect and need to be CLOSELY monitored, because the gaming industry just can’t make a game with positive outcomes- it has to have devious options as well. I am still trying to find some games that teach things such as peacekeeping, nurturing, empathy, etc. I am having a hard time with these. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas of games that might teach these “socially positive” qualities, please let me know! Otherwise I will keep you posted as I find more positive games out there.
I have been searching and searching for games that are listed as prosocial, and WHY they are listed as prosocial. I have found that the titles that fall under that category are not games you can buy in a store. An example of this would be Farmville for facebook. It teaches you how to take care of animals and work together, etc. Other than that there are not a lot of games out there that teach these types of lessons for kids. I am still on the hunt and will let you know when I get some more answers…..stay tuned!