My stepson and I had a blast this weekend exploring our backyard and finding all kinds of creatures. We found dozens of snails, caterpillars, and then went to the kiddie beach to hunt hermit crabs and crabs. We explored for hours and hours two days in a row, having so much fun just being engaged with the rich world around us. I had come across a butterfly net and bug catching stuff at the Dollar Store on Thursday and immediately grabbed it to buy for my stepson. It’s the kind of thing I would have loved as a kid. Heck, I think I may have even bought it so I could play with it and use it! We both got a lot of use out of it this weekend!
We were entertained for hours and it brought back all my childhood tomboy days of hunting all kinds of creatures. I was so impressed when I told him to “go catch something cool” in our yard and minutes later he came shouting with excitement to his daddy, “I caught a lizard, Daddy! I got a lizard!” We don’t ever see lizards in our yard! And it sounds silly, but I was so proud of him catching that lizard! Every day he gets smarter and more adroit.
To me, that’s what childhood is about–the simple, uncomplicated joys of wildlife, nature, studying creatures, learning about the world around you. I’m so glad that my stepson has an appreciation for these things and that we can share that fun together.
It’s definitely a struggle keeping kids interested in real life these days. With all the technological devices that surround us it can be so easy just to plop kids down in front of a screen. To use devices as a bribe for whatever we want our kids to do. To give them gifts without them really earning it.
I am very hesitant to see kids receiving devices and games left and right. They take away from childhood more than they add to it. And I want to preserve his childhood as much as possible. I want to preserve his inherent love for the real world as much as possible. As he gains an avid interest in video games I am trying to instill an appreciation for exploring the real world. I share a love for video games too, but we always try to invite him into more reading, exploring, and playing than video games.
Being concerned for how much “screen time” he gets as a child has made me more willing to put down my phone. Facebook and Instagram have taken a backseat, literally, they’ve moved to a small folder in the back of my phone, and I’m starting to just not care about keeping up with them. My blog is the only place I feel like I can share my real self and not feel a need to check notifications. I can share without caring who likes.
Oddly enough, Facebook has been sending me way more notifications than usual, as if it is trying to lure me back into mindlessly scrolling through the feed. (Which it is because they have admitted to experimenting with human behavior.) I suddenly receive notifications about people updating their status and uploading photos when I never used to before. It analyzed that I started checking Facebook much less, and instead of seeing 2 or 3 notifications a day I started to see 20 or 30 accumulating. So sad that social media and technology is rewiring our brains to become addicted like little lab rats.
I know that’s a real Debbie Downer note to end on, but there is a real positive to it though. I’ve realized that I am much happier focusing on engaging with the people around me, especially my husband and stepson. Social media is being put on the shelf, and in it’s stead, I have been reading more and finding it helps combat over-thinking, dwelling on the past, and negative emotions.
Slowly, I’ve been finding what makes me happy… Letting go of things that don’t really bring happiness… Letting go of the social media one step at a time… And working on enjoying the fullness of life God has given to me.
C o v e r e d I n S c a r l e t