Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: A Poem About Parenting
Every day I’m amazed how my two kids are developing—absorbing and processing their experiences of this world—and if I think too much about it, it sort of freaks me out. Parenting is an immense responsibility. It’s also a crazy dance of adjustments hoping on-the-fly parental innovations will work against new strategies these crafty little ones develop to get what they want.
What my (almost) 4 year old really wants—his currency, in parent-speak—is “screen time”. This includes computer, television, and the most precious (or maybe I should say, pernicious) device, in his eyes, the holy iPhone.
I have to admit, watching him press the button, slide his finger across the touch screen, then go to the settings to put it on “airplane mode” is a little disturbing, and makes me think about how this brand new tech-integrated generation born the first decade of the 21st century is going to be affected.
Luckily, in our house, Mom and Dad quickly issued a parental decree limiting screen time. We don’t want our kids developing nature deficit disorder, which is sadly the reality of too many kids. And we are blessed to live in Missoula, where nature is out our backdoor.
What kids absorb from the deepflow of consumer culture, like my kids will to some degree since their parents watch tv, use computers, and fiddle with those goddamn iPhone apps, is a bit staggering. Limiting exposure feels like a good idea.
Trying to be as aware as possible about what my kids absorb is what this week’s featured poem takes a stab at describing. Enjoy.
between our standing, storm
we aren’t composed of stone
but from inner oceans born
the kids absorb our thunder
and feel the wind we blow
the gales of agitation
we cannot help but show
but we have a responsibility
so mother/father: breathe
please control your weather
don’t strike like lightning