Thursday, May 19, 2011

IPODS AND THE LIKE

She woke up in the morning and looked around the room. The others had been awake long before her but there was no sound. Each person was totally engrossed in their ipod.


Granted it was morning, and perhaps everyone was tired, but this isn't the first time she has commented on it. 


There have been numerous times that she has attended gatherings only to find kids using their ipod more then engaging person to person with others.


She finds it most annoying and wonders why ?  
She loves her ipod too, but she loves people more.


She wants to be with people and talk and share and have fun. . .person to person.  
Why is everyone so separate. . .  doing their own thing. . . with their ipods?


I don't know. Do you?
Is time with their ipods limited or controlled at home? 
If a person is given free rein when to use something it's just another tool to use when they want or need to. 


But if their time with it is limited or controlled, they will focus on it, perhaps obsessing over it, because they don't know when they will have unlimited time again.. . that freedom.


Technology is terrific and we all love it but my teens would rather have real life conversation and interaction when they get together with others.


Now that they are teens, each day I see more and more benefits from a life lived with freedom and choices. . .  and that includes no limits or controls on any technology they use. 



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FOR THE LOVE OF NATURE

I am passionate about nature and I would love my teens to be passionate as well. But that doesn't always happen. 

Each child is unique with their own likes and dislikes. 
Do I want them to love nature? Yes. 
Can I make them love nature? No. 
(You cannot make another do anything and live a life of trust and freedom.)

I like to encourage. I like to expose them to situations. 
Luckily we live on twelve glorious acres, filled with nature and animals, so it just means stepping out the door, or helping with tasks, or going down our drive. 
But you can also be somewhere and still not *see*.

I am forever talking about what I see, and what I hear, in the natural world. I go 5 mph down our long driveway to take it all in, so we won't miss anything. At first there were groans and sighs from the back seat, but they are used to it by now and may even point out something they see. . .sometimes.

If we didn't live where we live, I would still seek out area parks, bridges, and small nature spots, even if it's just to drink a smoothie or eat an ice cream cone, or sit and talk, and at times I would include others. It's always fun to be someplace with friends.

And while we cannot make someone like what we do, and do exactly as we do, we can still expose them to our joys and share our information.  Our excitement and passion will shine through and it will mean something at some point in their lives.

One teen proclaims a love of nature, the other says city living is better. Yet I know each one of them will have the memories to dig out at a later date in time.

I have noticed that when friends are interested, they become more interested. I'm not sure they are being a good host or hostess by doing what the friend wants or are actually *seeing* and truly enjoying.

I came home one day to find a teen and a friend grooming the horses. There has also been an increase of picnics and campfires by the pond, and even time spent just sitting on the bridge in chairs. All from the future *city dweller*.
It's not to say he doesn't like nature, he does, but just in his own way. 
Would he like to be chasing through the woods with friends and his new air soft gun? Sure! It will happen soon. 
Would he like to be grooming horses with his girlfriend? He has done that, much to my surprise. 
Would he like to chill out on the bridge playing his guitar? Yes , he has repeatedly.


My other teen feels nature IS an important part of her life, and has friends who also love to explore and build forts and faerie houses and care for animals.
=
All of us living and growing in our own ways.


Go outdoors and bring a teen. They need a personal connection with nature before they can truly care about our earth.

“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.”
-David Sobe


Monday, May 2, 2011

WE KNOW THEY ARE OUT THERE

We know they are out there. . . other teens, I mean. But it seems so hard to find kids this age who don't go to school.
Where are they?


I have my suspicions. 
Many parents are freaked out about college, and academics are at the forefront of their minds. Schoolwork and classes keep many teens too busy to connect. 


"They have classes and go to co-op and see their friends there", parents defend.


Yes they do "see" their friends. But think about it, when is the last time you had quality time with friends during a class or a half hour lunchtime ?


Ask the teens. 
They *want* to see others, and on a regular basis too. Ask teens what their biggest complaint about homeschooling or unschooling is. Most times it's not seeing kids their age more.


Teens need to be out with others whenever they can. We live in a community of people. Real live life lessons are being learned everyday being with others; lessons that cannot be learned from books.


My daughter wanted a scheduled day each week when teens could gather. A group of teens.
We started a Teen Connection at our house for boys and girls, 13 and up. No structure, no agenda, just show up and decide what to do and say. 


One child told her mom that perhaps I should organize an ice breaker game in the beginning. My daughter said no, she didn't want me directly involved.  She felt kids will get comfortable in their own way. I honored her request and I do see that IS exactly what is happening.
The teens bring snacks to share and sometimes a game. They go inside and outside, whatever they feel like doing. Some are talkative, others are quiet observers.


Right now it is held in the afternoon, 3-4 hours, and as the weather gets warmer it might be held in the evenings as well.


I don't even need to ask the teens if they like it, they keep coming back!