by Hannah Roveto
The surest sign of summer is the clonkety-clonk of large and growing feet around my house. Two voices have joined the cat and I, insisting they are exhausted when asked to do something, and bored beyond belief as soon as I let them rest. One critical detail: we are the only family in town, in New England, in the U.S. and perhaps the world to not have a gaming system.
Not that we aren't considering a system, although not as an immediate option or even a summer addition to our home. Not that the system wouldn't replace limited time on the TV, computer, and DS and come with rules. We haven't made the leap yet, and we are hesitant to do so. We do not see it as anything we really want. "Augh!" They groan, eyeballs spinning. "But why not?"
Because... I want them to live in three dimensions. Instead of playing Guitar Hero, one kid actually plays the guitar and the drums, and the other sings and is thinking about keyboard lessons. Instead addition to watching tightly edited television, one kid makes and edits videos and has done one for a local grocery. Instead of playing Dance Dance Revolution, one kid dances, dances on stage and can play both goalie and kick goals. Because both my kids are a bit obsessive and I worry it will be a battle to keep the primary focus on the 3-D worlds they have found for themselves in that time and space that being bored allows just before you decide what you want -- need, in your soul -- to do with your time.
Then I hear this: "You spend all your free (!) time on the computer." True enough. I spend my time writing, creating new worlds and new beings whom I need to see in three dimensions in order for others to experience them as well. I need to relive long-ago family vacations spent in piney campgrounds, or the feel of a baseball bat in my hands when it connects with the ball, or the summer spent working at a veterinary hospital, the sweet smell of disinfectant and the musk of dog and cat, and the paralyzing tension in the steps of a German Shepherd being brought into a room soon after an old, ill dog was put to sleep. I need to remember how a face crinkled just so with laughter, the precise pitch of a shriek of happiness and not anger, whether a particular person strode or lumbered or sashayed. I need to pull from the 3-D world to build a dream in the 3-D world: a real story, start to finish that may make its way into the real world some day.
I want my children to know how to live in three dimensions and to find their dreams. I want them to be bored, to have space and time to find what they want most in themselves, to nurture it themselves, to live it for themselves. Maybe because I waited so long in my life to dig deep and push my own dreams forward, I am being a bit obsessive myself on this issue. I freely admit this. What's the big deal, right? Maybe it's enough to realize that there is a 2-D and 3-D world at all, and that the rewards of 3-D are richer and fuller. Maybe by living life in 3-D and leading by example, we can all show -- rather than tell -- children in our lives and others as well how to realize their dreams in multiple dimensions, too.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
by Hannah Roveto