Saturday, November 29, 2014

On Art and Electronics

Looks like Max isn't the only winner. Dagny's horse won a blue ribbon at the county art fair ...

And here are a couple more noteworthy pieces. Dagny's best friend at school drew her mother using the photograph. It might have been taken 20 years ago, but she still looks the same!  And Max made the bowl and Christmas tree in his ceramics class.

 I find that the children used to spend hours drawing and experimenting. Now that they are older, their creative output is so much less. They play computer games or read the news or participate in social media ... I can't help but think they're swimming in the shallows. We routinely turn off everything so that they can reset (and just look at my own language -- it reflects how much the electronics have taken over my own life).

I will be ever grateful that we had some sense to keep all this away for the first decade of their lives so that they could develop their minds. We introduced the electronics in a limited way 4 yrs ago, but as they enter adolescence, we are letting them have full use and it's interesting (and dismaying and sad) to observe how quickly they discard the development of their own art in favor of becoming consumers. So we let them loose, and rein them in. And trying hard to cultivate a few good habits since the electronics are here to stay in their lives. But I mourn the loss of hours and hours of play. Even my own creative life thrives when I take the time to walk and observe all the beauty around me, listen to bird-song, play the piano, and write for no reason except to put words on paper or play with the arrangement of words. I often switch between different projects with poetry  because it shakes things loose in my brain. I do not want the children to waste this wonderful time in their lives glued to a device in their *free time*. Now it's not all bad. It is the computer that has allowed us to play with pictures and make little home movies. But note the operative word: PLAY.

Parents, tell me, how do you strike a balance with your children? 


Johnell DeWitt said...

This is always a hard area to handle. Sometimes I just have to ban the technology for a day to get them outside, which is sad. Alas, I find myself getting sucked into it too and like you, I have to take time out purposefully. Sounds like you're managing the situation quite well.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Well, I have grands now instead of children but fortunately my own children limit screen time and live in rural settings so their kids get lots of outdoor and creativity time. But they still like the screen!

And me too. I don't usually have my computer on at all on Sundays but thought I should check on a friend and here I am - reading blogs, checking FB, etc. Thanks for sharing their beautiful work and for reminding us to at least think about quality of life.

Bish Denham said...

I am concerned that kids coming up now will be stunted in their interior growth. Just this weekend I saw a toddler in a stroller with his face (literally) pressed against the screen of a small hand-held device, his fingers working. Sad to me. I think it's an *easy* way for parents to keep their kids entertained without having to actually do it themselves, which means the developing relationship of parent/child suffers.

Anna Staniszewski said...

This is something I've been thinking a lot about now that we have our first little one on the way. Technology is unavoidable to a degree, but I don't want to lose our creativity because of it. Sometimes my husband and I will just turn everything off and draw, even though we're both terrible, just to tap into that part of our brains more. Hopefully, we can continue doing that.

Vijaya said...

Johnell, I'm glad to know there are others who are banning electronics for a day or an hour or two. It's hard enough for adults to exercise self-control, let alone kids.

Joyce, it's late and I should be in bed curled up with a book, but here I am, too. Thanks for visiting me here.

Bish, you nailed it. The parent-child relationship suffers. Just this evening, I had to tell Max to put away his phone while I was talking to him.

Anna, it's good to think about this now with baby on the way. We were lucky that neither my husband or I are TV watchers, so the kids grew up for a long time without even any movies. We still remember their first movies with great fondness: Curious George; Cars (around age 4). I hope you continue to make lots more art.