So. I am having two Minor Conflicts.
- One: One set of Grandparents seems to think The Captain needs a cell phone. I do not want The Captain to have a cell phone, for a number of reasons, and shockingly, ‘the possibility that aliens could use it to fire LASERS at his eardrums’ is not one of them. My reasons are:
- I don’t think he’s responsible enough not to lose it or break it within a week;
- the minute he gets *any* kind of handheld electronics, he will no longer interact with Living People (I’ve seen this happen); and
- I don’t need to have access to him 24 hours a day. This is perhaps the most important reason. Grandparents said: “now that he’s looking after his brother after school, I thought you’d want to be able to get in touch with him all the time so you could know where they are and if they need you.”
I said, “they already do that. They check in after school, and they’re currently not permitted to have friends over or to go to friends’ houses until we’re home. It’s working for us, and The Captain is doing well.”
The Grandparents said, “Well I know a lot of people who are giving their kids phones because they want to be able to keep tabs on them.”
I said, “when I was 12, I didn’t have a cell phone, and I managed to survive relatively unscathed.”
Grandparents said, “you didn’t have the kind of responsibility you’re putting on him. You’re expecting him to behave like an adult but you’re not treating him like one.”
I said, “I had a babysitting gig when I was 12. The kid and I both did all right.”
I think two things about this whole discussion: First of all, if all of my parents’ friends were jumping off of bridges, would they recommend that I jump off a bridge too? THAT ARGUMENT DOESN’T HOLD WATER FROM MY KIDS, AND IT WON’T HOLD WATER FROM MY PARENTS.
The second thing I think is this: I am, at least relatively speaking, an “adult”. I HATE the idea that someone could ‘keep tabs on me’ all day, every day, no matter where I am or what I am doing. I don’t want that. And I don’t want my kids to do that either. They know how to get ahold of me if they need to, but I want THEM to know that I trust THEM to make the right decisions and to take responsibility. I want them to know that I don’t need to supervise everything they do. THAT IS WHAT TRUST IS.
Sure, I also don’t think my kids need to be playing Gears of War Six Million on their cell phones and texting pictures of their prepubescent junk to one another in band class, but that concern really is at the bottom of the barrel. Maybe even under the barrel.
I will not be Big Brother. That is not my job. My job is to make sure they are safe (which I’ve done) and loved (that’s easy) and healthy (cough into your elbows please, and don’t spit on my children), not necessarily in that order. My job is not to hover around them, electronically or otherwise, to make sure that they are telling me EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES what they are doing, who they’re with, and what they think they might be up to in the next hour. They need independence, and tethered independence is not independence at all.
So that’s the first thing that’s bugging me.
The second thing is this:
The Captain’s team-mates are wanting to do paintball for a team wrap-up. I have a HUGE moral/ethical issue with paintball. I am really seriously offended by the idea that you’re going out to pretend to shoot each other. To me, that’s a huge “desensitisation” thing, and it’s wrong. It is WRONG to point a weapon at someone. Sure, tell me I’m reading too much into this and that it’s just fun and my kid isn’t going to go out and murder a busload of nuns just because I let him play paintball. That’s not what I’m worried about. It’s not always about the “immediate consequence”.
For me, this is really about right and wrong. If you aim a weapon at someone, you are intending to cause them harm, or, worse, to kill them. And I don’t like that. Weapons are not toys and people are not targets. Yeah, I played guns when I was a kid, and no, I haven’t shot anyone yet. But it just really hurts my soul to think of my kid out there, pretending that killing one another is fun.
And just to put this into perspective, if my kids decide to go into cadets and/or the Reserves and/or any branch of the military, to train to ACTUALLY kill people, I think I will have LESS of a problem with it.
See if you can get your head around *that*.