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How to Keep Your Kids Creative in a Technology-Crazed World(Part 1)


Let's face it, we live in a technology-crazed world.

I remember as a kid when we switched to cordless phones and how exciting that was.  I remember going out by myself as a teen without a cell phone(I didn't even know what it was), and felt completely safe.

I remember playing Pacman on a little miniature arcade-looking device for a few minutes but I usually had better things to do, like play in the woods or on a rainy day, hang out with my stuffed animals.  My sister and I started our own clubs and secret languages.  We read books, lots of them.

We made tree forts, mudpies and found great pleasure in being chased by a billy goat.  We couldn't wait until the creek flooded so that we could use our inner tubes.  I loved to climb up the slanted tree with my guitar and play in the open-sided treehouse.  I would lay on my back and actually be still and listen to the birds.  I found great pleasure in nature's sounds.

Oh there was work too.  Instead of sitting in my room on a computer or wasting my time playing video games or plugged in with ear phones listening to music, I did have some work to do.  I actually enjoyed(okay, most of the time) feeding the chickens, gathering the eggs and sneaking some food to our overly friendly milk cow.  I had a sense of great accomplishment when my dad, my sisters and I loaded 500 bales of hay from the field all by ourselves, two to three time a summer.

You might think I am an old grandma who is out of touch with reality.  I'm only 42.

Although I didn't know it then, the seed was planted to pass on these same childhood memories to my children.  Not just memories, but real life experiences where they could be free to explore, free to create, free to run and jump and climb.  A seed was planted to not have lazy kids, but kids who know how to work, especially on a farm.

And so here we are.

And that seed has been planted in my kids, I hope.  They have the freedoms I had, probably more so.  They work on the farm and some have better work ethic than I did as a child.  Yet, it is a continual uphill battle, a battle against a technology-crazed world.

My kids see it, everywhere.  It seems to have seeped it's way into our home, slower than the average American family I suppose,  It can't be denied and it is convenient, but we have to constantly keep it on a leash.  Sometimes it breaks free and goes a little crazy in the Shock house, but it is quickly subdued and tied back up, a little tighter and more secure.

We've made our fair share of mistakes on keeping technology from taking over.  It's so easy to check our brains at the door and rely solely on cell phones, computers, iPads, etc.  It's also nice to take a little parenting break and let the kids play video games.  But, where do we draw the line?

How do we keep creativity in our kids when the world keeps telling us we need more technology to survive? 

First of all, we need to stay focused on the bigger picture,  When our kids get older, what do we want to see?  Lazy video junkies and/or texting kings and queens?  Or will they be hard workers who aren't afraid to use their God-given brains without checking their phones first?  Will they be quitters, wanting to start over when life gets too hard?  Will they be able to communicate with others by looking them in the eyes and speaking clearly?  Are they able to sit down and carry on a conversation with friends, family or guests without holding onto to their lifeline(phone)?

I admit, my oldest, being the inquisitive one, loved to research lots of things on the computer when she was around 14.  She began to take a liking to it so much that it became an obsession.  Because the computer never left the school room and she wasn't doing anything wrong on the computer, I did not limit her use as much as I should.  Her creative uses for it eventually started to become a useless waste of time.

And so her creativity declined.  And so mama and papa put some limits on computer usage.

Unfortunately and fortunately all in one, our oldest children are sometimes the guinea pigs for parenting. Although my oldest is not a video-junkie and is still a hard worker, I have learned some things from her computer/phone usage that I have passed down to my other children.

Technology isn't the devil, but I think most of us will agree it has become a battle for many.  It's like a tug-of-war game, where the parent is constantly pulling that rope to keep their kid from crossing over to the obsession of cell phones, computers, video games, etc.

I've told my kids that I wish they had the privilege of growing up without computers, high tech video games and cell phones.  I didn't have to worry about that struggle, that temptation to always want to be on my phone or text someone,  That addiction to video games never surfaced with just a hand-held Pacman game.

Now that you are thinking about what you want that bigger picture to look like, start thinking about where your children are at right now.  Are they heading that way?  Or are you losing your grip on that tug-of-war game?

In my next post, I'll tell you how I've kept this huge monster at bay and how I've learned from my mistakes.  Don't give up on your children.  Keep hanging on to that rope, sometimes it will hurt and burn, sometimes it will feel like you are the only one pulling, but our kids are worth it.


And if you get that rope burn, did you know there is an oil for that?  Heeheehee.  You know I have to lighten things up a bit.  But, hey it's true!  Find out more HERE!


1 comment:

  1. As a father of six children (5 now grown), and a Scoutmaster for 3 years, I can honestly say that the initial "withdrawal" phase is the toughest. If you can somehow manage to separate child from electronics in a peaceful way and then distract them immediately with nature it is amazing to watch the transformation. Kids may say they hate the outdoors, but that is typically only an acknowledgement that they don't want to experience change. Once they are in the fresh air it doesn't often take long before they forget all about their little modern distractions.

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