This weekend we went out to dinner at a restaurant. When Terrícola had finished dinner, he got out of his chair and began to observe the other diners in the restaurant, to look out the window, to take a few turns …
I caught some disapproving glances at me: Why didn’t I make him sit in the chair and sit still? The way I see it… the little one was not doing anything wrong or wrong, he was just being a child, which implies (at least at the age of 3 years and 10 months) constant movement.
When I looked around to see what the other children were doing, I realized that they were all looking down at the ground. If I looked more closely … “voila” a mobile phone or tablet in hand.
It is not that it seems good or bad to me that at a certain moment they are looking at the mobile. Technology exists in our lives and very vividly, so it is normal that it also reaches them, I do not judge that and I would be lying if I said that Terrícola has never seen a screen. What seems dramatic to me is that when you go to a restaurant and look around you… all the children are crestfallen, yes, based on being abducted by technology (sometimes even the entire family is abducted).
In this way … we are getting used to the fact that children when they are in “adult” spaces are quiet. If it occurs to them to do something similar to what it is to BE A CHILD, such as running, singing, talking louder or laughing out loud … we give them a mobile so that they stay in that vegetative state that children stay when they have a screen in front. That way they don’t bother, so no one looks at us badly.
And so we live, too, a somewhat absurd situation: children still with technology in hand, children with their eyes always down, children who during all that time accumulate energy that later explodes in any way (and thankfully it does! Well, children need to move !!) But then it is also wrong, they are hyperactive or very moved or tremendous when in most cases they are only HEALTHY CHILDREN lacking movement.
I would like to call for children to be allowed to be children, not to be silenced by technology. Let them laugh out loud, tell us the same story a thousand times in a row, get out of the chair and examine the restaurant (are there emergency lights? How many fire extinguishers are there?) Let them observe people, ask them the name of the child at the next table … always with respect of course and without disturbing, but how do you learn if not by observing and asking? Sometimes all of that bothers us more than others.
Let the noise return a little to our lives, let us get used to the little ones’ fluttering again and let us not silence them anymore. Let’s laugh out loud at their jokes (even if they don’t make sense or humor sometimes) and learn from those little teachers, who teach us so much simply by being. If we all do it, what we call noise will become everyday.
At least I do not want spaces without children, nor do I want children who always look towards the ground, I like children who look where they want, who look towards what they are interested in, wanting to learn and enjoy. As simple (or as complicated) as that.