Nowadays, it seems that I’m constantly telling my kids, “Get off the screen”, “No more screens”, ”Too much screen time”, ”Go outside and take advantage of the beautiful day!”, or “Just use your creativity!” All I hear in return is “But I’m bored.”
Sound familiar? It’s a constant struggle against the convenient and often beneficial technology that we all happily use during our daily routines. Sometimes though, I admit, I want to throw all our screens out the window. It just gets to be TOO MUCH.
That said, you’ll understand why I must post the following story. I witnessed a rare occurrence yesterday. My two boys came home from school. One said “I finished my homework in school.” and went right to the Wii. The other said, “Imma, I want to paint something. Do we have any canvases?” I was taken by surprise. (A child of mine wanted to use his hands to do something other than pressing wildly on buttons of a hand held screen device!) Indeed, down in our storage closet I did have a couple canvases that I bought a few years ago at a ridiculously low sale price, hoping the day would come when one of my kids would be interested enough to actually spend a few hours of leisure time, painting. “Where’s your easel?” my son asked.
About a year ago, someone came into my house, saw the painting easel and said “I’ve always wanted to try my hand at painting, but I don’t have an easel like this.” Of course, I told the person to take the easel. ”No one’s using it here, ” I said. (How could they if they’re always on screens?) ”Someone might as well get some use out it. You can borrow it with pleasure.”
Problem is, now I have no recollection as to who that person was. I’ve wracked my brain, asked everyone I know, even posted it on Facebook. I simply have no idea who borrowed that easel. And now my son has chosen to paint over watching a screen!! What to do??
I started frantically coming up with suggestions. “I’ll make some phone calls. We’ll find an easel somewhere. Here, let’s just lean the canvas up on the bathroom counter. I’ll even stand here for an hour or so and hold the canvas while you paint on it.” (Just PLEASE, whatever you do son, don’t go back to the screen!!)
And then, the miracle.
He says, ” I think I’ll just build one on my own. I saw some scrap wood in the storage room and in the back yard. Where’s the saw? Do we have any nails?”
All parents really want in life is “nachas” from our children. Thank you, Shivi, for giving me that much needed nachat ruach yesterday.