Thursday, 11 July 2013

Kids growing up in a digital age

Kids growing up in a digital age
12 July 2013

The kids of today, are growing up in an entirely new era than the one we grew up in.  Or perhaps I should rather say, they’re growing up in a different era to the one I grew up in.

They don't know a world without computers at home – and many of them at that.  Internet, cell phones, satellite TV, portable phones, key cards instead of car keys, credit cards, remote controls, etc.

I once made the mistake of telling my kids, that we didn’t have a TV when I was really small.  I used to go and watch “Haas Das” at the neighbours every so often.  A great and much anticipated treat.  My kids looked at me as if I had suddenly sprouted an extra head.  Or had confessed to having a secret third leg.  Or had admitted to robbing a bank.  At first they didn’t even believe me.  How old was I?  And after my little confession, Cole sealed the deal when he asked me if everything was black and white when I was little.  You know, seeing as I grew up in “the olden days”.  Yes, my dear boy.  And while we’re at it, I walked to school in the snow.  Had no running water, used an ox wagon for transport and smoke signals in lieu of telephone calls.  Just saying.

Life was easier.  Or perhaps it was more difficult.  It is hard to remember.

And just the other day, this constant exposure to technology and all of the opportunities it affords us, was illustrated to me ever so succinctly once more.  Leaving no grey area.

But perhaps I should set the scene first, to give you a bit of context as to the basis of this little tale.  Just so that you’re in the loop so to speak.

Picture this:  Week two of the holidays.  And after a three night get-away to my Mom in Tulbagh, it was clearly time for me to think of creative ways to keep an always exuberant Cole entertained.  In week one, he had spent two nights at Muisnes, with his best buddy Ben as a guest.  It was like one huge long sleepover play date that just never seemed to end.  Amber was in tow and managed to keep the boys very much entertained doing scavenger hunts with them, dress-ups, etc.  An on night three, Luke and I joined the Muisnes mayhem, and the fun just continued.  Still week two loomed ahead, with the golden carrot of a two night stay at Kleinbaai to look forward to.  Still what to do before we left for Kleinbaai?  Easy peasy!  I would enrol Cole for one morning at the church holiday club.  He would love it, as loads of kids go and many of his friends would be there.  The activities are always fun, the kids are super entertained and the whole atmosphere is festive.  It was a true win-win.  However, when I fetched Cole from the holiday club, he asked if he could have a friend over to play for the afternoon.  Normally I would have said yes, as a kid with a friend is a happy kid.  Having friends over is not just showing a kindness to your child, the friend, or the friend’s mother – it is showing a kindness to yourself, as they will be busy playing the whole time long.  And apart from throwing snacks and drinks at them, they will not bother you once.  But unfortunately, I had to join Grant that afternoon and drive through to Montague Gardens.  And clearly I can’t invite a friend over, if I was not going to be there.  Now, Cole does not take kindly to having his carefully connived plans thwarted.  Added to which, he had already asked a friend without my knowledge.  Still I held steadfast and explained that it could not be done.  In addition he had already had an awesome morning filled with fun, had seen lots of his friends, and we were leaving for Kleinbaai the following morning.  The kid was not hard done by, by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, Cole did not share my optimistic viewpoint.  He was seriously miffed with me, and told me so in no uncertain terms.  Initially I explained kindly, but the more irate and difficult he got, the more my patience fizzled out.  I had said “NO!”.  No further explanation needed.  I am the mother.  I make the rules and decisions.  He didn’t have to like it, but he had to accept it.  Still a foiled Cole does not do subtle or gentle.  The term “guns blazing” springs to mind.

I’m assuming that I got more and more verbal too.  And possibly raised my voice.  I can honestly say that I don’t do screaming at my kids.  Never have and never will.  I don’t like feeling out of control and I think it must be scary for them if their mother shouts.  However, I can talk loudly, clearly and slowly.  Being every so careful to perfectly enunciate every single word.

The ten minute drive home from the church was rather painful, as Cole and I were having this verbal disagreement.  Neither giving an inch.  Having an unconstructive argument with a nine year old, who won’t admit defeat is both trying and tiresome.  I’m the adult for goodness sake!  And the second the car stopped at home, he sprinted inside and flopped down on a chair in front of the computer.  And once I peered over his shoulder, this is what I found:

He had cleverly decided to harness the great and wonderful Google’s knowledge and problem solving skills, and had typed in the following words in the search toolbar:

“Fix something when your mother has gone behond crazy”

Gotta love that kid.  He’s different for sure.

When we were little and thought our mother had gone mental and was being unreasonable, we didn’t have access to the same resources.  We simply had to sit it out and hope that she eventually calmed down.  However big up to the wondrous Google.  They clearly advised Cole well.

He apologised most profusely.  Said he was sorry a million times.  And repeatedly told me how beautiful I am.

Yip, he’s going to get far in life!

Click and Like on Facebook

How does one argue with that?  I am quite clearly an unreasonable mother, who has finally snapped and gone BEHOND crazy.  And it you don't believe me, just ask Cole.  Or Google.

It's as clear as daylight!

1 comment: