Being a parent these days is really hard. In most cases both parents have to work to keep the family’s head above water. So who cares for the children when they finish school in the afternoon? Sadly, kids get sent to creche before they can even walk.
Is it really so surprising that kids have no discipline when their parents are hardly ever able to spend valuable family time with them? Who disciplines them? Where do they get their values from? Let’s take a step back, say 30 years.
Not so very long ago, the pace of life was much slower. When kids got home from school they could play with their friends until dark, even if their friends lived on the other side of town. Riding bicycle, climbing trees, fishing, swimming in dirty rivers. It was safe to do. As long as you got home before dark there were no issues.
Today things are very different. It is not safe for children to walk the streets or go to shops on their own. So how do we (parents) keep them busy while we at work? It’s easy, there are hundreds of electronic games for them to play that keep them busy and happy and safe inside the house.
But at what cost?
A lot of children have lost their connection to nature because they spend most of their time indoors, in a stationery position. With their faces glued to a screen, more attached to a virtual world than to reality. It’s like a drug – the more they get the more they want. Children participate in fewer physical activities. I think this affects muscle tone.
Living in a clean sterile environment with little exercise and no sun is not good for the immune system, never mind your soul. I’m not even going to talk about the negative effects these games have on one’s brain.
Children need to get outside more often, to re-connect with nature. They need to build forts, climb trees, run, climb rocks and fall a little, swim in a farm dam and play ‘klei lat’ (propelling clay by means of a flexible stick).
Let children BE children. Unfortunately they cannot do it on their own as was done 30 years ago. It is the responsibility of the parents to provide platforms where activities designed to develop core muscles and strengthen their immune systems can be done in a controlled safe environment. This means more effort from the parent’s side. Fortunately there are a lot of good outdoor activities available.
By Ian van der Vyver