Wednesday, April 08, 2009

something to think about

While we were on the way to school this morning, Ryann was telling me about Pirate Stinky Pants and his granny. This was a puppet show that she had at her school about a month ago (why she was talking about it now...). She was telling me that the Pirate and his grandma were string puppets and when Grandma lost her dress, the guy who was doing her puppet pulled it up by lifting a string on her finger. I told her those puppets are called marionettes.

Got me thinking... who is going to do the marionette shows when Ryann has kids? This, I assume, is going to become another lost art. I'm sure it is less common already, but by the time she has kids who is going to know how to do it?

We have so much technology and our kids are so into tv, video games, handhelds, ipods, cell phones that to actually DO something seems out of line. Which kids are going to take a class in performing with marionettes? And which kids are going to find a passion for puppeteering that leads them to try to make a career out of doing puppet shows for preschool kids? Which kids are going to be confident enough to pursue a "weird" hobby?

We live in a throw away society. DVD player broke? Throw it out and buy a new one - they're relatively cheap. We don't think about having them repaired. Besides - who would repair it? On our way to Mexico last October our suitcase broke - to the point where we couldn't use it to bring our clothes back with us. We bought a new one - an unknown brand - in Cabo and left the old one - Samsonite - in the hotel room when we left. I was telling my dad about it and he asked me why we didn't bring it home and have the zipper repaired. Never once did that thought enter my mind. Not once did I think about doing that and then decide it would be too much of a hassle. The idea of it even being fixable never ocurred to me.

Kids don't grow up to be appliance repairmen anymore. They have bigger and better things to do, don't they? Who wants to fix ovens for a living... and really, could you make a living doing that?

These are thoughts that I've voiced to a few of my friends. And by voiced I mean have had good discussion about them. I can't articulate everything in a blog post, but the point is that I need to continue to focus on relationships and doing with my children and not get hung up on convenience and feeling left out. I don't own a cell phone. Sometimes I feel left out because I can't access the internet every second of the day or I wouldn't have a clue how to text someone if I was paid to figure it out. To be honest, our initial decision for me to not have a cell phone was financially related - we had to cut expenses when Dave switched careers and that was definitely an unnecessary expense (I never used mine, never had the battery charged and this was before texting began). But over the years I have watched other people use their cell phones and I am so happy I don't have one. True - I can't be reached wherever I am at anyone else's convenience and I'm pretty happy about that:) There is a measure of silence in my life that many people don't have and I am appreciative of that.

A friend told me that she has come to realize that her generation (she's a bit older than me) has not allowed enough silence in their childrens' lives - that they have talked so much that their kids are unable to make decisions for themselves. She has now adopted a policy of answering a decision question with another question and empowering her children to make their own decisions. I want to expand that a bit and wonder if by giving our kids cell phones and always being available by text we have contributed to this problem in another way. Are kids able to make basic judgement calls on their own? Or do they have to text mom or dad to find out if it is okay to go here or go there or be with this person or that person? Have we taken some of the responsibility off of their shoulders and kept it on ours? Man, I see so many possible negative outcomes of that...

I know I sound cynical. Truthfully, I am. I am sad about this stuff. I'm sad that we are so technology focused and not relationship focused. I understand the desire and the perceived need for these things, but I want to stand firm in my quest to simplify life.


April 2:28 PM  

I stand firm with you. We don't like watching everyone on their cell phones either. But, I think texting has wrecked communication and it is a frustration to me. I especially get frustrated by teenagers on it constantly. I also get frustrated that people abuse it and say things to people that they are afraid to say to a person live. Yeah, we have no intentions of having our kids have cell phones until they are out of the house. I don't care how much they pressure us. We also don't let our kids use the computer or play any video games at home. I know that the little bit that the do at others is fine with us because it is sooooo infrequent. I love that my kids can play with regular toys, draw and enjoy each other without the distraction of the games and computer. I do let them watch tv and movies...I am not prepared to part with them, but the other things, I have no problems not having them in my home! Anyway, staying unplugged for the most part makes me happy that is for sure!

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