Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unplug to Unleash

Flesh and blood heroes are the best!
I remember that one Saturday very well. Super Hubby and I were huddled in the home office crunching the numbers for our taxes and our son was told he'd have to "find something to do". The choice he made was not to go read a good book, to take a walk around the neighborhood, or even to play outside. That day he made the electronic choice. This choice encompassed about 10 hours of video gaming, to which I am not proud. It's not that I'm anti- TV or anti-gaming. I know it's part of our children's culture and if I ban it entirely, he may very well think the kids at school are speaking another language during lunchtime conversation, and they, in turn, may look at him like he's sporting 3 heads.

The next day, I was determined to make my disappointment known to our young son whose mind may have turned to complete moosh if I hadn't intervened. I told him he had spent too much time on the Wii the day before and today was going to be a day of no electronics, no gaming, no TV. I was still helping Super Hubby with taxes so he needed to find something to do that didn't involve the use of electrical current.

He understood my intent and agreed to the request. I stepped into the home office and closed the door. When I finally emerged, the site before me changed my perspective forever. Right before me was undeniable proof that TV and video games are, indeed, killing the creative brain cells of our youth. I entered my son's room to find it completely converted into a pirate ship. He had made the ship's wheel out of construction paper and taped it to the wall underneath his window. He took the Crayola Washable Window Markers that were collecting dust and drew the ocean and sun onto the window. He drew an octopus when he had to fight one out on the high seas. When the octopus was defeated, he'd erase him and next he drew an island. Land ho! Time to find the hidden treasure, but be careful of the natives. He gathered reserves in a shoe box consisting of pretzels, Pringles, and fruit chews.

The imaginative play I saw before me was the creativity my son had always shown, but at times was robbed of while video controller was in hand. I'm all for balance, it's important. The day he played for 10 hours was a mistake on all our parts. We as parents were busy, our son was bored. It happens. But, when you say the words, "Find something else to do now," you give your child an opportunity to entertain themselves without zoning out. Unplugging means unleashing the imaginative creativity that is already there, just waiting to burst through. Don't deny our children the opportunity to use it fully.

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