Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Children With Nature-Deficit Disorder

Interestingly, my "gentleman friend"* and I were discussing this recently and he made almost this exact point, including the assertion that there is a heck of a lot that the Scouts could do for modern children. And the comments in the blog where I found the article indicate that it matches what parents are seeing. Certainly one of the worst punishments I can give my kids is to take away "screen time" -- more of a threat to the boy, but a significant threat to either of them.

That said, when they can find other kids in the neighborhood (which often is a challenge), my two do like to go outside and play. And this article also makes me feel less guilty about letting them - I mean, I do kinda live in "da hood" and there are times when Da Boy takes off for several hours with friends without my being completely certain of every place he is and every thing he's doing. I do always know which of two or three houses he's going to be playing in or around (all pretty much right next to one another), and if I needed him I could always wander that way and bellow - I've done it before when he's missed a check-in time.

I guess my only question would be, is fear of abduction a "bogeyman syndrome" as the author asserts? My daughter is 9 and noticeably attractive (and I'd accuse myself of being an over-doting parent if all her life, total strangers hadn't walked up to me in public places and said, "Your daughter is so beautiful!" And that she looked like the Pepsi Girl, which she got thorougly sick of being called. :) In fact, a friend who is a photographer has a picture of her in his portfolio and says he gets more compliments on this photo than on all his others combined. Okay, now I'm bragging; someone tell me to shut up. :) ). Is a concern with her safety being overprotective? I have come to the recent conclusion that I am a seriously overprotective parent, an uncomfortable but unmistakeable conclusion after reading a couple of really useful books. And I don't know where the line is between being reasonably concerned for their safety, and being over-protective.

But I do know they're going to camp this summer, and they're certainly outside ALL the time with Little League (with both of them playing, I feel like I have no life anymore that's not at the ballpark, for pete's sakes!), so they ARE getting some nature time. I guess I can feel less guilty than I did before.

(Note, of course, that I'm discussing the lack of nature time and preponderance of computer/video game time WHERE?... :) Remember, God is an iron...)

(Ooh, the "God Is An Iron" short story is on line! For anyone who has not read this, or for that matter hasn't read Spider Robinson, I strongly encourage it.)

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* As an aside, what is the accepted term for someone that you're dating when you're my age? "Boyfriend" sounds juvenile; "guy I'm dating" is kinda clunky; "friend" accords him no more importance than any other male friend, which doesn't seem quite right as I've got rather a lot of male friends; "significant other" is stodgy; "partner" implies a relationship level beyond "dating"...

Apparently, from what I've found in a quick Google search, I'm not the only one who wonders this. And after reading this, I think I may need to re-think my "friend" comment above. I mean, what happens in private is, by definition, private, and doesn't need to be advertised in the term you use for someone, right? Let's face it, using a term other than "friend" is arguably an attempt to either show off that you are dating --something I'll admit to being guilty of as darnit, I think the guy's amazing :) --or a way to show "ownership," to "mark your territory," which is something I believe is a serious flaw in the way our society views relationships.

Still, using "friend" for both someone I'm dating and someone I'm not might make people think I have the same type of relationship with both of them, which is obviously not accurate.

I'll have to think about this and come back to it later...

1 comment:

Tina said...

1. Your daughter is a hottie.
2. I would not call you OVERprotective, but you do seem to tend to err on the cautious side.
3. I say 'boyfriend', and we're the same age, even if our respective $guy-people are not.
4. Really, really need to go Out to Coffee soon.