* We’ve had a wonderful week in Acadia National Park. Today we’re driving down the coast, exploring some lighthouses along the way until we reach Portland, Maine. Then tomorrow we head for Boston!
On Wednesday I brought you a powerful post by Elizabeth from Sattvic Family. Today, her husband Billy, who writes his own blog at Holistic Dad, was gracious enough to share a very powerful post, too, about how technology can get in the way of our children’s desire for love and attention.
I watch him sitting there, eyes glazed as he half-heartedly watches Tom and Jerry on the LCD screen in the lobby. His face is emotionless, angelic almost; soft eyes processing the classic American comedy, lips pursed in contemplation…nothing telling of what’s to come.
As a teacher I instruct young and old on aspects of learning, life and yes, English. In return I watch them gather information, translate it into something useful and put it into action.
This boy, though, seems to have received some mixed messages.
Tean is around 7 years old. He is 2 years older than his sister and upon observation has been forgotten, left behind. His sister, being the younger and coming at a more privileged point in the family’s life, has been bestowed with all her heart desires; mostly attention. This has left Tean alone.
His father, when not attending to the needs of the younger princess, is enthralled with the latest I-whatever to hit the market, constantly gabbing or tapping off to the side while his son glares at the TV, flames dancing away like fairies upon his head.
Grandma is also extremely taken with her tablet. Grandma? Yes, she too has become an I-Zombie, shutting out the world for an app wonderland of nothingness.
This boy has been to all the language schools on the island. He has gotten under the skin of battle-tested, middle- aged German teachers. He has been asked to leave the after school programs offered at his private school. And now, he is a regular with us.
Do I write him off as the ‘terror’ his mother dubs him as she shyly looks away, even before he sets foot in my classroom?
As an unschooling health practitioner, I am trained to look underneath the surface and detect underlying sources of rage and distractions that might cause a young soul to be different than they once were. Too much sugar and not enough rest are easy and common ones to spot.
But this poor kid is crying for love, a victim of materialism and quite possibly a pioneer in a culture smitten with new-gadget-love. During class play, Tean constantly declares a very attention demanding “I hate IPAD!”… I wonder why. He sees what has become of his family and his rebellion is a way of speaking to them.
His classroom behavior is a way of cramming 7 days of self expression, eyes and ears on me-ness, in 90 minutes. He has to go overkill because it’s all he has!
Seven days of school awaits many of the well to-dos’ children on this tourist island filled with new-money wealth. But at least in my class, we learn through play, hoping that its success might get noticed by those who really want to see a change in their youngsters…Sadly, the parents are filled with the ‘work for more’ attitude.
Now, the bigger cars = better person epidemic is at its peak.
I am asked by one of my students if she can put ‘the Benz’ in her family tree. I take a deep breath and whisper ‘One step at a time… and as always, set the example and let the children follow…’
Billy Bradley is a proud husband, father, actor, teacher and family wellness coach. He currently is enjoying life in Phuket, Thailand with his family and helping any who ask. He blogs at HolisticDad.net.