At first, I felt guilty when I made the rule.
In a minute you’ll probably wonder why a grown woman would feel guilty about a household rule for her grandchildren. Especially since I was raised the old school way where what the adult said goes … period. But after raising three daughters the old school way, I wanted to try a new way of communicating with my grandchildren. At least, it’s new for me, hence my nervousness and guilt. But, the new rule was:
No cell phones or electronic gadget use til after 9 p.m.
My grandchildren (I have 7) are ages
12 down to 2. I didn’t think that was such an odd mandate; but then again, that’s probably because I come from old school. Technology had not taken center stage in everyone’s lives yet. Cell phone, seriously? This was back in the 70’s and 80’s. I was excited just to have a Princess phone.
Life was different for kids then. I had my television time … Saturday morning cartoons: Bugs Bunny, The Jackson 5; then Soul Train and sitcoms like I Dream of Jeannie, Sandford and Son, Good Times. But television wasn’tall day. We got plenty of vitamin D outside in the summer sun. We played kickball, dodgeball, hopscotch, jump rope, marbles, jacks, and rode our bikes. And in the rain or cold, there were plenty of indoor games to keep us busy. This was the foundation for my rule. I wanted to share a piece of my life with my grandchildren; show them that they can have fun that you don’t
need batteries for. I was nervous because I didn’t want them to think of this as a punishment and guilty because I didn’t want them to feel that I was depriving them, and therefore opt not to come over. Thankfully, I was worried for nothing. My grandchildren are the best! But I couldn’t help but worry. Nearly every activity these days is push-a-button inspired. You can’t walk down the street, ride a bus, or shop in a grocery store without seeing someone with a phone stuck to their ear, or their eyes glued to the phone screen concentrating on playing a game,
watching a video, or scrolling thru Facebook/Twitter/Instagram statuses. Without a doubt, today’s unwritten rule for having hours of delirious, satisfying fun without getting up off your butt to do it, is to have the latest techno gadget on the market.But, my grandchildren embraced all the fun that I suggested and actually enjoyed themselves. I have an apartment full of board games: Trouble, Scrabble, Googly Eyes, Pictionary to name a few; plus paint, markers, glitter, glue, crochet yarn and hooks, bubble wands, hula hoops, Twister … you name it! Plus plenty of books.
I don’t feel guilty any more.
Playing games together, t.v. off, phones and laptops temporarily put away, has strengthened my bond with my grandchildren. They’ve discovered talents they didn’t know they had, and learned that there was life before technology.