As parents, one of the things we always worry about is what kind of a world we will leave for our kids. No matter how many times we vote and realize we can only cast one vote in millions into the box, we somehow still feel it is our responsibility to make sure that when our kids grow up, the world will be safe, clean and pleasant for them. It’s OK, it’s natural.
So let’s explore some things parents do “for their kids” and let’s see what they have to sacrifice in the process. If you have any more examples, I invite you to post them in the comment box below.
Big house with a big yard
Many of the people I know start their life in shared accommodations, where things are pretty crowded and other people are in their face much of the time. Often, this is during a time when they are building their career through studying, apprenticeship or starting a business.
So a natural desire out of this is to want more space and more privacy – “a big house with a big garden and a tall fence that will stop people from getting into my business”. This desire is linked with the ability to afford such a place.
Over time, there is more money, so we move into a bigger place, then into our first house, then a bigger house with a garden.
Then we have kids and we want them to go out and play with friends, but we cannot find any friends for them on our street, because we cannot see past the neighbors’ fences. Of course, they cannot see into our house, so they do not even know we have kids who would like to play.
So we start out thinking that good fences make good neighbors, but they just end up making really bored, isolated kids, who must be driven around to activities and known friends from school, and guess who has to drive them there (and back)?
Windows tinting and air conditioning
Being able to afford a big house also means we can afford a nice car with all the trimmings, like tinted windows, to keep out the sun in the summer and keep our car nice and cool.
Of course, nowadays, all the cars have air conditioning, which makes it great when it is hot outside, but also allow us to keep the windows closed in any weather and listen to music or talk without having to shout.
Alas, when the neighbor finally leave the house and drives by with the kids, we cannot see them and they cannot see us. By the time we even realize who it was and try to wave at them, they have gone.
Having such nice cars and such a nice house with some really nice things inside it to make us comfortable invites some dangers. The bad people, those criminals we see every day on television, are out to get our things and so we must do something to protect ourselves and, of course, our kids.
So we look at the local newspaper and ring around and finally get someone to install a security system, which will not only make a big noise when tripped, it will also alert the local overworked police, who will do their best to come to our aid if something bad happens.
The thing is, getting in and out of the house becomes more complicated, requiring codes and keys and coordination, so sometimes, it may be better just to stay at home, where it is safe. Oh, and at night, we try not to trip the alarm when we go to the toilet, so that we do not wake everybody up.
Easy communication via computers and mobile phones
But fear not, we now all have access to the Internet and we all have mobile phones, so why don’t we chat and send text messages to our friends?
In the really old days, if we wanted to talk to someone, we simply had to face them. We could then hear them well, see their body language and even touch them, if the situation called for that.
In the telephone days, we could talk to people over long distances and although we could not see them, we still communicated. We had an interaction with them.
Today, however, we have enough technology to hold video conversations with our friends and family, but young people prefer to send and receive text messages. Call me old fashioned, but my only explanation to this is that when you send your message, you do it uninterrupted, so it is like the other person shuts up when you talk.
I just don’t get it. Do you?
My daughter and her friends send series of text messages to each other on their mobile phones, the cost of which would allow them to talk for minutes. Personally, I get a lot more communication done in 1 minute of conversation, and it is a lot clearer and definitive, than in many text messages. I have had miscommunications via email that were cleared in a 30-second phone call.
Although we can use our computers to relate to people anywhere in the world (or nearly that), computers also make it possible for us to have a lot of miscommunication and to hide from each other by using false identities and false pretences.
Maybe a good thing about computers and the Internet, though, is the ability to write my thoughts and post them on a blog for parents, because maybe that will be the start of some good communication after all.
Come on, talk to me,