Hi Meltingpot Readers,
Earlier this year, I posted about my desire to come up with a brand or a logo or some sort of title for my style of parenting. I’m not a Tiger mom, because I’m not Asian, nor am I that strict. But I’m not lenient enough to be a free-range mom. My kids don’t play soccer and I refuse to drive a minivan (because I suck at parallel parking), so soccer mom is out too. What’s Ms. Meltingpot to do? I played around with the idea of Panther mom, but people misunderstood and thought I was going for a throwback to the Black Panther Party. I have much respect for the original Panthers but I’m not raising little radicals here.
But fear not, dear readers. My answer came to me this past Sunday. I was reading this article in the New York Times about the poor children who practically lost their minds when super storm Sandy rendered all of their electronic devices useless. When speaking of that rare breed of children who aren’t digitally connected 24 hours a day, she referenced the Obama girls and categorized Michelle Obama’s rules regarding technology use —no TV, cellphones or computers during the week except for homework — as “draconian.” I, on the other hand, found them quite appropriate. In fact, Ms. Meltingpot follows pretty much the same pattern. My kids don’t own cell phones, they don’t have email accounts and we don’t have cable. They also do not have any type of video game console or thingamijiggy they can hold in their hands that connects to the world-wide web. Why? Why is Ms. Meltingpot so ‘draconian?’ Because at this stage in my children’s lives — they are eight and 11 — I think technology is a distraction. My kids are voracious readers, they both play instruments and they both take karate lessons. Coupled with homework, a minimal amount of chores around the house and time to play, where is the time for ‘technology?’ In my opinion, video games and time plugged into facebook or any other cyber world is time where the brain is unplugged. (And not for nothing, time on facebook or any other webpage would mean Ms. Meltingpot would have to spend her time supervising and I really don’t have room for that in my already busy schedule.)
During super storm Sandy, we never lost power, but my kids were stuck in the house for three days. They read, played chess, played their instruments, built forts and did science experiments in the basement. And I didn’t have to direct their play. I know sooner rather than later they will need cell phones and an email account, but it is my hope that they will simply see these things as useful tools and not necessities. Needless to say, my older son frequently asks for the new electronic gizmo he sees his friends have at school, but I’m okay with saying no. I may not be a Tiger mom, but I’m okay being an Obama Mama.
What about you, dear readers? Where does technology fit in your home? No judgements here because everyone has their own style of parenting. I think we can all learn from each other. So, feel free to share. I’m listening.