My almost 15 year old Gregory is not very happy with his mother and father these days. He is very upset with all of the rules and he voices his opposition to them and us through his demeanor, words and actions often. I know you will say he is a teenager, and teenagers fight for independence and struggle for their own identity. They are like new spring arrivals working their way out of seemingly nothing to end up as beautiful flowers. Is there an easier or better path to get through? Do Mom and Dad need to smother and sfather this boy as he becomes a man? Will that pressure help his springing up?
Remembering when I was 14 and in high school, things were much slower. There was not the instant communications, the ability to publish to the world instantly, the ability to view and “like” the world so easily and quickly, and there were much fewer bread crumbs. For us we had the phone, we had dances and school events where we met, we had parties for sure, and kids were the same. We just didn’t have the instant communication, the virtual communities, and the ability to not get back what we just said.
I guess writing this blog is like that. At first I wrote for a couple of years in my own journal of notes, where I would have this conversation and work through topics in a linear literary fashion. As I get older and things are crammed in my brain, I need that ability to think through something linearly, where things are revealed as I move deeper into subjects and trains of thought. One day I sent a particularly enlightening piece to Kecia, as we go through many of the same issues and struggles, to let her know what I had revealed. She sent it to 25 people and lots of feedback came. With that I decided to put my streams into a published site, in the hope an insight might resonate with others. My point is that I need to filter what I put on the blog. Whereas before I could write whatever I wanted, now I self-edit to make sure that I don’t regret something I post.
That self-editing feature is not fully developed in my teenager. The skill I’d like for him to learn when I provide boundaries of electronics and bedtimes is one of time management, priority setting, and content filtering. When I say the electronics should only be used on the living floor, then I hope he understands that someone might walk by him and see what he is viewing or publishing, and thus those be appropriate for all to see. Heck, when it gets on Facebook, all can see it there. And when I set the bedtime at 9:30, I hope that he will prioritize and manage his time for homework, sports and fun. Unfortunately at times he has sneaked around both of these to be caught texting into the early morning hours, and not always the most appropriate content as well.
You all may think I am crazy, but I have no yet given up on trying to have some sanity in a word of constant electronic communication. My hope is that having open access with boundaries will prove a good combination. Right now the reaction is not so great. But having seen glimpses of total open access and freedom, I fear my son might go off the rails, which given the events of the past week on these tracks is always a possibility.
Don’t give up Greg! Take copious notes so that when Carter turns 15 we will know what works and what doesn’t!!