Friday, November 16, 2007

Let 'em have it

Liam, Seth and I, outside of Dinardos Candy Store.
Lily and her buddy Rachel, chillin' at the pizza place.




Well, I figured it was time for me to post again- I've been in a creative rut as of late, most likely due to the barage of germs encircling every member of my lovely family. I have a fantasy that big men in white suits and gas masks will invade our abode to halt the contamination. soon. and they aren't necessarily cute men- they just promise me that none of my offspring will have even a sniffle for the rest of the winter.

There have been a number of things on my mind lately, concerning my children and a variety of contraband. It all began, really, when I met Liam up at school, last Friday, and took him to Mineos for lunch and then to Dinardos for an after-pizza treat. Lily and her friend Rachel showed up and I noticed that both she and Liam were aiming to purchase some candy cigarettes. My first reaction was of horror- and I immediately told him to forget it- he was not going to be buying those. But then I had a change of heart, and instructed them to go ahead and get whatever they wanted, that I didn't care. So they did. Do I care? Of course. No person in their right mind wants to even envision their kids pretending to participate in an activity which will inevitably lead to their suffering and early demise. Those days were over decades ago. But, I do know this....the fascination with such things as smoking cigarettes seems to go hand-in-hand with parents' disapproval of the behavior. And I don't believe, for a minute, that just because the kids stuff their mouths with candy shaped like Marlboros that they are going to turn into chain-smoking thirteen year-olds. I have seen, in my experience at a parent, that talking to my children, very casually but intentionally, about controversial issues, and being very straight-forward and honest with them, offers the best armor against the vast array of dangers in the world. Lets face it, most of us, at one time or another, picked up a cigarette, probably at a bar, while drinking, took a puff, maybe inhaled, maybe did this more than once, but we aren't smokers. Why? Not because our parents said "you can't do that because I said so" but because we know it makes you smell bad, turns-off anyone who might still want to lock lips with you, costs way too much money, and eventually kills you. And I am deciding, for now, to trust that Lily, Liam, Benjamin, and Seth will take the same information and form the same conclusions. If not, well...then I'll be wrong.

This leads me to another subject that I have been battling within- that of video games. I don't own a game cube, a playstation, a wii, or the like. I've, in the past, vowed not to purchase these entertainment devices, mostly because I liked my children for the creative ways they chose to play, while here at home, and I didn't want them to become so enamored with gaming that they stopped indulging in more natural forms of interaction with one another. However....here goes...video games are fun. I know because today, while Lily was home sick, I played a couple, on the computer, with she and Ben. And the best part, was that we were laughing and I was stepping into their world and enjoying it. I want to have fun and I want my kids to have fun and I do believe that there are many ways of achieving joy in our relationships with one another that aren't necessarily my first choice. I'd like my world to appear more like a page out of Walden by Henry David Thoreau than an hour on The Disney Channel. But when I chose to have children, I invited into my life, four distinct personalities, who define happiness in a completely different manner than I do. And it is my job, I think, to create an environment where there is honor given to everyone's desires, no matter how silly they seem at the time. So, in keeping with that principle, I'm thinking it may be time to seriously consider a move in the virtual direction. Even if it only involves the purchase of a playstation and five electric guitars for us all to rock on together (with the game "Guitar Hero.") Now that could be fun.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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