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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Cold Cruel World

We moms have years of life experience from which to teach our children, but there's nothing like the cold cruel world to provide valuable life experiences of their own. "It's in the fine print," the sales clerk told me today when I tried to pick up the much awaited for Spiderman video game. Today, as touted by all the websites, magazines, and kid discussions on the bus is the release date. Turns out, the release date really means the ship date, the crabby clerk informed me. "You don't understand," I said, "I have to go home and explain this to my eleven year old. He's not going to understand it as anything, but unfair and you know what, I highly agree with him." I'm sure you can imagine the blank stare I received in response. God bless those of you that work in retail. I could never do it. I was the nicest mom he faced.

Duped again by marketing geniuses. I'm sure they're sure that the buyers of these games, mostly kids under the age of sixteen, will come in today (having not read the find print) and that the vast majority of them will buy something else today just to make up for hurt feelings and to fill the now vacant twenty four hours until the actual release. They know that they'll return again tomorrow to pick up the much awaited game. They hype up these games for ages touting release dates that seem impossibly far in the future. Young One even puts them on our family calendar. He starts to count the days as soon as they announce them. Changes in release dates can throw off his entire day and these do happen, I suppose technical difficulties or whatever can change these things.

Young One loves his video games. He's great at not overdoing them, we taught him early on to figure out cues that his body has had enough, such as a racing heart and flushed face and he follows those cues well and takes breaks as needed. I don't believe that strongly forbidding anything with kids works well. Kids usually then set the forbidden object or privilege on a high pedestal and cannot control themselves when granted unsupervised access. We think kids need to be exposed to and fluent in the use of all the latest technology, after all, this is going to be their world. So, Young One is a great typist, he can surf the Internet with ease, and he knows how to use almost all forms of technology. He also knows what's off limits or inappropriate and how to handle it.

I'm rambling again. Apologies.

I have to look on today's situation as an opportunity to teach, however difficult it is, that the world isn't always fair. We just had the greatest conversation about how misleading people can be hurtful and that it's OK to speak out in protest, as long as it is appropriate in its delivery. We will voice our opinion on this to the company and most likely direct it to the CEO. Those letters usually get answered as long as they are presented in a relatively positive light! As well, we will remember that deceit, on any level, hurts people and we'll go above and beyond being clear and true to everyone that we encounter.

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Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!