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A shared view

Sometimes when I talk about this mission of preserving childhood, I think people look at me like I’ve grown wings or horns. And then I try to ease myself off the soapbox unnoticed.

But I’ve found another voice, through a blog, who shares this view. The view that it is our job as parents to ensure our children get to experience childhood. That it is our job to prevent the corruption of our children by the media. There are so few tools at our disposal and so I’ve found that reading her blog regularly gives me the inspiration to keep up the good fight.

Please take a minute to read Carrie’s blog:

The Assault on Girlhood

White Christmas

Easter was this past Sunday. Instead of having our usual “Movie Friday”, we chose to enjoy a video on Thursday. I had told my kids that we would get outside with Daddy on Friday. They were completely agreeable!

So I wanted to share this because it gave me such a chuckle. When asked to choose a movie, all they wanted was White Christmas. I had recorded it via DVR in December and we had only gotten a chance to watch it last month. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised because they both LOVED Holiday Inn. Yes, my six year-old AND my three year-old. Had it been a rainy day I might have consented, but I was so excited to get out in the fresh air I told them they had to pick something else.

Out to Dinner

Recently, I went out with some friends while my husband watched the children. It’s something I don’t do very often but really do enjoy. But that’s besides the point.

Anyway, as my friends and I were seated at our table, I noticed there was a screen about 12″ sitting there with a remote. I sat dumbfounded…completely speechless….all I could do was point at it. I simply couldn’t believe that there would be a television screen at a dining table in a restaurant! As I looked around, I noticed several families with young children. Each table had a children’s show on the television to entertain the kids.

What has happened to our families? We can’t go out to dinner with our children and spend that time together…connecting? We must be separated by television? I think children have never been so disconnected from their parents as they are now. They sit in the backseat of the SUV or van with their handheld video games or watching the tv screen with earphones plugged in. Even for a jaunt across town. They watch their tvs in their rooms or play their video games…in their rooms. They sit and text…in their rooms. Certainly not every family is like this, but from what I hear from other parents, it’s certainly the norm.

When did this happen? When do they get a chance to sit together, talk and just “be”?

This will not happen to my family. Not now. Not ten years from now. I refuse to let media disconnect my family.

Another interesting link.  Here, several child psychologists and child-rearing experts comment on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent study findings.

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/wired-kids-negligent-parents/

Two-hour delay

We woke this morning to a fluffy inch or two of snow covering the ground.  A bit of a surprise.  I hadn’t watched the news last night, so I don’t know if anything was forecasted, but I’m imagining, from the reactions of the other parents I ran into today, that there was not so much as a flake in the forecast.

Shortly after I got the kids out of bed, I got the reverse-411 call from the school district that there would be a two-hour delay.  I was excited!  That meant that there would be plenty of time for shoveling and warming up the truck before buckling the kids.

We watched the lovely white flakes fall silently as we ate breakfast.  A little snow creates a little magic.  The girls were entranced and for once getting breakfast into them wasn’t a struggle.  We finished quickly and got into our snow gear.  Eyes were sparkling with anticipation.  All they could talk about was making a snow fort.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that an inch or two was barely enough for a snowball fight.

Fluffy snow made for quick shoveling, as they played in our tiny front yard.  Before long, there actually was a small pile of snow to make into a fort….for fairies, of course!  Silly me.

I’d planned to head back in after shoveling, but it was barely 8:30am and we didn’t need to get anyone to school until 11:00am.  So we took a walk through the woods.  (If there’s one thing I can say about our neighborhood, it’s that we have an abundant open space with lovely woods to walk through.  So we make up for our small yard with lots of room for exploring and playing in the open space.)

I love the quiet when it snows.  Everything is muted and peaceful.  The smallest sounds can be heard through this peacefulness.  And the girls were very quiet as we walked, carefully searching for animal tracks in the freshly fallen snow.  On the other side of the woods is “their” tree.  They have claimed it as their own and have created a “home” out of it.  There are bedrooms and a kitchen.  And a fireplace.  No walk through the woods is complete without time spent at their tree.

Before I knew it, nearly an hour had passed.  It was time to get back inside to get ready for school.  Believe it or not (I didn’t!), there was no struggle to get them to go back inside.  I guess they realized what a treat it was to spend time like that outside before school.  So we headed in and warmed up over hot chocolate with marshmallows.  And I couldn’t help myself but to smooch those chilly red faces….so happy and glowing.

And I was the happiest mom.  As we returned home from school a little later in the day, I was thrilled that they’d gotten to play in the snow before school, because it was completely gone by the time we got home.  The joy of a two-hour delay.  I only wish I’d thought to bring my camera.

Everyone I talk to seems to concede that America’s children are spending too much time with media.  But how much exactly is that?  There finally are some answers.

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released information about a study it conducted on the daily use of media among children and teens.  According to the study, “most youth say they have no rules about how much time they can spend with TV, video games, or computers”.

The results of the study stunned me.  Who could have imagined that our children consume so much media in one day?  I suspected the number was rather high, but I never guessed 7 hours and 38 minutes.  A day.  ONE DAY.  The study was conducted among children ages 8-18 and included all types of media: tv, computer, music/audio, print, video games and movies.

TIME TO UNPLUG.  At least for a few hours a day.

A more pressing issue than an unplugged childhood is actually experiencing childhood….period.  I know this post is more than a little off-topic but always relevant.  There is a dire need for bone marrow donors of all backgrounds.  A friend recently passed a message of a little girl of Chinese/Japanese descent in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant….it is her only hope of survival.  The US database has not produced a match and they are now searching internationally.  Non-caucasian donors are in very high demand.  Here is her story:

http://nataliesangels.blogspot.com

Please…PLEASE…if you or someone you know fits that description, please be sure you or they are on the National Marrow Registry:

http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Join_Now/join_now.html

You may join for free right now to become a potential bone marrow donor.  Joining the registry normally costs $50 to $100, but if you use this promotional code, you may register for free: PIF070109.  There are medical and age restrictions, so please read those carefully.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Please pass this information to anyone who may be able to help.


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