4 June 2014

My boy is like a caged bird

Jack, aged 10, is away at camp this week. It's his first extended stay away from us, and we don't like it! We miss him.

His distance has brought some things into focus. So soon he'll be a teenager - what do we want to do with these next short years? How do we want to live them with him?

Ten years ago there never was a brighter, more sociable, curious baby, who learnt everything with dazzling speed. That brightness is still there, but everyday things - a tractor, a cemetery, visitors to our house - no longer hold a trace of their past enchantment to him. Of course.

Now he seems like a caged bird, hungry for more. Go wider, we say! Roam the streets, explore the local park with your mates, come to the museum, learn about space, do woodworking.... but the only world he wants to escape to is the virtual world. It is so enticing, so compelling.

We have no television, but that makes little difference when there's an ipad (we won it) and a computer. We limit his computer time, which is what creates the bars of the cage, and is a constant source of friction.

His friends are the same, it seems to me, except their screen time is longer. Their physical activity is organised sports, or practicing for them. What happened to climbing trees and going for bike rides?

What will this do to our children?

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