Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Technology and the Wilderness

This morning's market goods, with a couple of additions from the co-op.

The boys have been spending the last couple of evenings playing in the ash and dust in the backyard fire pit, grand pretend scenarios that involve warfare, rescue, and underground expeditions. They come in covered head to toe in a layer of taupe, and it's right to the bath for a half hour or so of playing in the water before dinner. They look wild and happy when they come in, smeared and surrounded by a cloud of dirt, falling over each other's words as they tell about their make-believe adventures.

Yesterday's post about TV may have sounded like I had fully embraced it in our lives--and on my best days that's true--but on days where other insecurities assert themselves, or I take personally friends' comments about what they perceive to be the ill effect of TV on children, I find myself wondering all those scary, old, hypothetical things: are the boys too passive watching it? does TV give them bad ideas about what's important and what's OK? is it zapping them of their original thought? their connection to the people around them? Even though I know how irrational these thoughts are, and how incongruent with my own and my own children's experiences, the fears persist.

This morning, Fox brought me a hamburger bun, something he's not all that familiar with since we don't get them often, and said, "Mom, look! Somebody gave us Krabby Patties!"

Ah, Spongebob.

Had I somehow short-changed this beautiful child by watching hours and hours of Spongebob with him instead of engaging him in a game of chess, a conversation in Portuguese, or an examination of water samples under the microscope?

Sometimes we do those things. But not when he wants to watch Spongebob.

Later in the day, Woody said to me, "The thing I wouldn't like about camping all the time is that I wouldn't get to watch anything on TV." I agreed that would be missed. But I said that there are other things that the woods offer: running along paths and up hills; hearing and seeing animals and plants; feeling wind, rain, and sunshine; and seeing the sky. I said I was glad that we could have both, TV and being in the woods. Yes, he said. "There's things I like about technology, and things I like about the wilderness. What I like most about technology is that you can see what people are doing in other parts of the world."

Indeed.

Off he ran to jump in his huge cardboard box tank with the flame-patterned duct tape cannons.