Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Miscellany

Julia at Musings of a Prairie Girl has a series of posts where she is pondering about Classical Education. I am linking to the one on Classical Reading because there were a couple of books on the list that I haven’t read that might be interesting for summer.

Unplug your Kids has lots of good ideas for alternatives to the screen. I wanted to note these two posts:
Practical TV-Free Ideas.
Unplugging Yourself

Some of what this “unplugging” is about is mindfulness, as the blogger at Unplug Your Kids points out. Cindy at Applestars brought that idea into my mind (and comment-box) when she mentioned that she liked to have alternatives on hand to the screen to ensure that turning on the box wasn’t just a default or a patch over a blank or troubled spot in our lives.

Sandra Dodd has collected a lot of ideas about the value of video games and TV/Videos. This is something I’ve been thinking over for a long time, and haven’t come to any tidy conclusions, yet. I am not a video game player or movie-watcher myself by natural temperament. I prefer to have my nose in a book, my pen in a notebook, or a computer on my lap ;-). But when I started thinking about it more, I realized that I had set up a false dichotomy in my mind. VGs — frivolous, Books–serious. TV –mindless, other things — mindful. Screens — addictive, typed words — educational. But it’s not as easy as that. Heavens, I just wanted to make a link list, and here I am getting into another giant subject! I’m not going to try to think this through today, but just say that when I started mentally legitimizing my children’s interest in screen activities, it opened up a whole new field for communication and sharing learning.

Yet, it is easy for me to plug myself into my own internal world and basically leave a vacuum in the house. Not the red Elite Hoover that Aidan is fascinated by, but an empty void where my connecting to the children and to life ought to be. It takes some strength and attention to wrestle Things into their places. It starts with me, which is the hard part, and the reason why artificial limits can be attractive — they are easier than mindfulness. But I’ve noticed that what I admire most is balance, strength in dealing with all the media opportunities in modern life; not fearful, reflexive avoidance. So that is what I’m trying to turn over in my mind.

This is my blog for half-formed thoughts so there you go, a whole collection of them!