These are definitely not the most flattering photo’s of me, but they all have one thing in common
I am a strong believer that play is vital in the early stages of a child’s development. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Play is essential for healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.
In my current situation, I live in a country (South-Korea) where technology is well developed and every child from the age of, well the age of being able to hold a phone in their hand, has a phone, iPad, or some kind of screen that grabs their attention. My students don’t know how to play outside; they don’t know how to interact, and their creativity doesn’t go much further than what they have learned or seen on their phone screens. I would ask my older students (9 to 12 years old), what they will do over the weekend or what they did the past weekend and most will reply with two words – PC room. (This is where they go to play computer games. It’s a big room filled with computers and you pay per half hour to use a computer.)
Whenever I take the train or bus for some exploring out of town, somewhere a toddler is acting out, and the first thing the parent does is taking out their phone,
giving it to the child. Instantly the child is quiet playing with the screen.
Now, with all of this being said; I am not a parent yet. I do not know the situations these other parents are in, and I have actually no place to judge on how they handle their kids. However, I see things that I hope, one day, I will not do to my children for “quick solutions”.
One of my friends posted this article a while back, “Mom, I’m bored”. I can’t remember much of my early childhood, but what I do remember was how I regularly would say “Mom, I’m bored.” Thinking about it now, I don’t think my mother ever gave me something to do…I would just always find something on my own eventually.
On a more positive note, the raw honesty of children can hurt, yet be very adorable.
In my first year teaching in Thailand, I learned very quickly that the culture is very honest and tells things as they are. Every Thursday when I got to school, one of my ESL grade 1 students would come up to me and say “Teacher Esthe, beautiful every day.” Every week little Jenny would just run up to me and put this huge smile on my face, complimenting me on what dress I am wearing that day. After a few months in Thailand and as I got more settled into the job, country and new lifestyle, I started gaining a few pounds, well, more than a few pounds…I was eating all the delicious deep fried Thai food like I was on vacation for life. Anyway, after our break of 6 weeks, school started back up, and as I saw little Jenny running up to me, I already felt the warmth in my heart and the smile on my face of what she was going to say….I saw her giggling with her friend first and when they stopped in front of me, Jenny looked up and said “Teacher Esthe, little bit fat, but beautiful every day,” she gave me a hug and ran off.