This post may offend some of our readers. If I say something that hits too close to home, just honestly evaluate your child’s involvement and if necessary ignore my observations.
My children grew up during the skate-board craze in our neighborhood. All of their friends owned expensive skateboards and I was aware that they practiced all kinds of tricks and stunts for hours and hours everyday and into the night right in front of our house. While these friends practiced their skateboard maneuvers, our children were doing homework, practicing the piano, doing chores, and spent lots of time being miserable as they watched all the fun taking place right outside on our street. My husband and I couldn’t afford to buy our children such a “toy,” but still they continued to ask for skateboards for Christmas or birthdays. Finally we gave in, and I purchased my two oldest $20 skateboards for Christmas. LOL (Are you?)
A $20 skateboard is like buying clamp-on roller skates. Our children were so excited on Christmas morning…which made me very happy. When all the neighborhood kids showed up, many with newer and more improved skateboards, our children went out to join in the fun and excitement. They soon learned that they could not do any of the tricks, nor could they get any speed on their skateboards. It didn’t take long for them to tire of the sport, and they got involved in activities where they could excel. Whew! Battle over.
Now, let me correct a previous statement. “My husband and I couldn’t afford to buy our children such a “toy.”” And yet we purchased a piano, and our children all took piano lessons. One of our children was a gifted gymnast, and the money we paid out for group and private tutoring was more than I want to share with our readers. Violin lessons, scout camps, guitar lessons, singing lessons, and sport’s camps…somehow we could afford all these. So what was different about skateboarding? The culture. (This is where I might start to step on toes.)
I silently watched the skateboard culture. The dress, the hair, the language, the attitude, and I didn’t want my children to be a part of it. At least, this was what I observed from the skateboarders in our neighborhood. They didn’t have the time or desire to get involved with any of the previously mentioned activities that I wanted our children involved in. I knew all of their parents, and I watched as their parents may have pushed music or scouting or studies, but the skateboarding won out, and nothing else positive was seriously pursued.
My children are grown, and are all successfully pursuing their dreams. I don’t know if skateboarding is still the craze that it was 25 years ago. What I see and hear about now is the video gaming craze. Would I buy video games for my children if they were still at home? Absolutely not! I don’t care how badly they wanted them. Why? Because I see what is happening in the video-gaming culture: Addictions, obsessions, often violence, and too often the shunning of everything else that is positive and worthwhile. That is something I would protect my children from as if it were a drug. In fact I have heard that it is as powerful a draw as any drug.
I have a friend whose husband…do I need to point out that this is a grown man?…was so addicted to video games that he wouldn’t go to work? She had to provide an income for the family. With him, and without him, because she left him after three years of seeing no improvement.
Why would any wise parent put such a temptation in front of their children? Because all their friends have video games? Bad decision as far as I’m concerned.
I ran across a blog this morning that I want to share. It helps make my point.
“I wanted to open up the topic of video game addictions. It never seemed to be a big deal to me until recently. My oldest son has become completely obsessed with a video game, and it is starting to worry me. He only cares about playing his game- he doesn’t spend time with his friends anymore, nor does he want to be around me or the rest of the family for that matter.
He used to be really committed to his education (he is fresh out of high school) and pursuing a career, but that seems to be unimportant to him now. I am afraid that if he does not quit playing the game soon, he will miss his chance to accomplish his dreams. It breaks my heart as a father to see him making the kind of decisions that I know he will regret later. Is anyone else experiencing a similar situation with their children? I could really use some advice on this.”
One more observation. My husband and I ran into an old friend this past weekend. During our conversation he said that his 33-year-old daughter plays video games all day. I know this girl. She was a good friend to one of my sons. She was talented musically, and lots of fun to be with. He shared with us that while she plays video games, she puts her four children in front of movies so that they will leave her alone.
Need I write more?
What a culture! Parents, before they even start, don’t let it happen.