By Samantha Pigott
From this side of the picture window the yard is a winter paradise. The pairs of cardinals fly in and out of the naked maple tree, while Blue Jays defend the feeders. Everything is white, clean, and fresh. Snow quickly becomes a thick, peaceful comforter.
Snow hides messes, un-kept yards, and half-finished projects. Just about every view is better with snowcaps.
Today as much as snow has covered and comforted the outdoor, inside the house is uncovered and exposed. On a snow day there are not countless activities to busy us, to worry us or distract us. No school or work to rush off to. Today was a serious, legit snow day.
The creeping of digital fulfillment into the brains and hearts of the kiddos was disturbingly obvious! It started with a TV break, followed by no movies, then horror of all horrors, no video games. Everything was going along nicely for the first twenty minutes. This is something that our family has been easing into; I am not so crazy as to go cold turkey on screens, especially on a snow day.
When the boys realized that it was a digital free day, attitudes got interesting. There was drama, oversized emotions, accompanied by foot stomping. The grand finale was a hand on the hip and finger-shaking dissertation from a five-year-old.
I immediately followed with an involuntary speech, “People have been surviving without TV and video games for hundreds, no thousands of years. You are not going to die or perish because you can’t watch TV for a few hours . . . .” It may have gone on from there. Duplicitously and silently I asked myself, “HOW, how did mothers survive and thrive without digital distractions?” I am ashamed I went there, but I did.
There was no other way. Kids were kicked outside, forced to read or build forts. Our generation probably will never live without screens, so what do we do? We have to be more conscious, and it all starts with time.
The giving of time to listen, to ask, to respond to long-winded kindergarten questions. Time is our greatest resource. It is not free. Giving time is costly, but the more I give it the easier it becomes. Digital reality is here to stay. It is our job as parents to teach our children about reality-reality. Time can teach kids responsibility, kindness, humor, humility, consequences, and how to have serious fun! Hopefully we will never have to teach them that having an adventure is better than watching one on TV.
So today the snow was more like a mirror, reminding me to be present and engaged with my children. A clean white reminder that time is love. Thanks for sticking with me on this. I am off to a Candyland tournament.