I’m constantly worrying about how much time my youngest son spends on the computer. I suspect I am not alone in this. I simply want to spend time with him. He is so intelligent and sarcastic, it’s just fun to hang out. I ask, no beg, for him to do things together that I would have considered fun when I was his age. Not a chance.
Obviously, doing anything with his family, especially his parents, probably isn’t his first choice as a teen. I’m not that clueless. But the activities seem like great ideas. Like taking our boat out on the lake, playing whatever music he wants super loud, and going to eat at the marina. Or going to an Auburn football game, eating pretzels, buying a new t-shirt, and sitting back to relax if the game is slow (rare). These were not options for me when I was in high school so they seem like a fun indulgence.
There is an analogy he uses to explain why he doesn’t want to go. After a week of school, feeling like he is being judged by both teachers and his peers, he says “my social battery is low”. This is telling us “Look, I’m tired of engaging with teachers, friends, activities, anything. I need time to chill.” Fair enough. Geometry and Literature would have used up my social battery immediately, and that doesn’t include the rest of the day.
It took me a while to understand that my sons are very different than me, other than being males, of course. For 4 years I was out in front of a crowd, dancing, with sequins, pom-poms, and loving the creativity of choreography and self-expression. That recharged me. Playing on the computer is his way to relax, his way to be creative, and his way to express himself. He gave me a list of his favorite gaming videos. There was the expected banter about the positive and negative aspects of each game-you could see them happening simultaneously. But in the newer videos, I hear confidence and talent as he runs through complex scenarios orchestrated to show the limits of the game. He showed me his latest couple of videos (above and below) and I hear remarkable vocal technique and enthusiasm. He’s laid back and in his element. And I understand what he is doing on the computer because he is explaining it not just to the YouTube audience but me, as well. I’ll trade the time I want for myself so he can have the time he needs any day of the week. Almost.
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