I am here to confess something that I didn’t understand was broken in our family and then to tell you the gift we were given.
Our family likes technology. Phones and iPads make for easier car rides, calmer dinners out, entertainment and learning options for the kids. We have had loose ground rules around how much they can be on them & what they can play. We have 2 ‘hand-me-down’ iPads – ones my husband and I no longer use. I thought I had good control over how long they were on them – but some days we definitely pushed right up against that line.
Four weeks ago, a horrible thing (at least according to my son) happened. He dropped his iPad and cracked the screen. This rendered it unusable.
He was upset at first – but not too devastated because he simply wanted to know when we could go to the store and get him a new one. I tried to keep from laughing out loud – there was no way his careless behavior was going to be rewarded with a new one.
I explained calmly that iPads are expensive and that we would not be going to buy him a new one. At that moment a light bulb went off in his head – “OK, then I will just ask Santa for one.” To which I explained that mommy & daddy talked to Santa and we all agreed that he was not getting another iPad – so no need to ask. He luckily bought my story.
His grieving did not last much beyond day 3. He immersed himself into his Legos and other toys and remarkably survived without his device. We are now 4-weeks out since break-day and just yesterday I realized what had happened over those weeks.
Play. Lots and lots of creative, imaginative, energy-burning play.
He and his 2-year old sister have become the best of friends over those weeks. They chase each other, build Legos together, wrestle on bean bags, build forts, conspire against authority, act crazy, make up words, hoot & holler…and truly enjoy each other’s company.
Its not that they never played before – but the iPad was always an escape that honestly was taking up too much play time. He’d be on his iPad – so she would want hers. I never realized how much they would play – if they didn’t have the distraction of an iPad. Its unbelievable!
I knew the iPad breaking had been a gift when I asked my daughter who her best friend was…and my son chimed in to say “Mom – obviously its me”! <Heart please don’t burst!>