May 14, 2008

Techno-Geek Takes Techno Vaca

Jerry was really down on himself the other day. He said the only thing he's good for is pushing buttons. He doesn't want to be a "techno-geek" a anymore, he said. He feels like he's lost his creativity. So my suggestion was that we take a vacation from all things techno. He agreed but said we'd have to do it together (doh!). I have a story due on Thursday so I need to use the computer until then, which means our "techno vaca," to put it in 21st century slang, will start on Friday.

But will it? Jerry's friend, Jackson, helped him rediscover his creativity later that same afternoon by suggesting a trip to Radio Shack where we loaded up on little motors, battery connectors and other electronics equipment. They're going to make a car. Jerry says they're thinking of it more as a work of art than a vehicle so it's not imperative that it be operational. They've already started working on it. 

So he says he may not need the "techno vaca," but I wonder. By allowing him all this freedom to choose his own activities (and he has been completely in charge of his time) am I making things more difficult for him in the long run? Traditional parenting would say yes, I am. But what does unschooling say? And, more importantly, what does my heart say?

I'm guessing unschooling says that Jerry will find his way and be stronger for it in the end. And that may be true. But my heart says a few more gentle nudges, a detour or two on the road to the Wii or the computer, might not be such a bad thing. 

It's tricky, though. I've really liked giving him freedom, trusting his choices, and keeping my nagging voice securely under wraps. I want him to have the power to make choices for himself. But I also want him to nourish his entire being. He is a creative kid. And yes, playing video games requires creativity and problem solving. But that's only one type of creativity. The video games only tap a fraction of his creative potential. What about the rest of it?

So I'm going to suggest we stick to the plan and take our "techno-vaca." It may be a looser version of the original plan but I think some kind of shift is in order, if only for a short while, to remind Jerry of his (and the world's) full potential. 

I'll let you know how it goes....

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