But dad, I need the internet!
The other day, Cindy and I threatened the older two kids with turning off the internet in order to get them to do their summer school work.
Of course, the older two protested in unison, “NOOOO!” And Dylan, who turns 7 this week, interjected from the other room, “But dad, I need the internet!”
I died a little inside.
I was 7 in 1987. Dirty Dancing was a box-office hit, gas was 89 cents a gallon, and the World Wide Web was still 3 years from being invented.
I’m not sure what I needed when I was 7, maybe a Pound Puppy or some Micro Machines, but it obviously wasn’t the internet. I mean, the internet just seems like such an advanced thing for a 7 year old to need.
Anyway, it’s a damn strange time to be a kid. If I’m confused about how to properly function during a pandemic their little heads must be spinning.
Cindy and I have talked to all three kids about washing their hands, wearing masks in public, and social distancing. We have been honest with what going back to school might look like in September and the concerns we have about playing sports.
Yet even though confusion and fear reign today, we should remind our children, and ourselves–for good measure, that we’re equipped to cope with “the new normal”
One of my favorite books is “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. Stacked with ancient wisdom drawn from Greek philosophers on how to embrace difficulties, Holiday writes,
“You will come across obstacles in life—fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.”
Later that day, when the older two finally stated their school work, I asked Dylan, “So, what would happen if there was suddenly no more internet?”
He looked at me with worried blue eyes, “My life would be over.”
Now, with everything going on, it might be the right time to remind our children, and ourselves…again, that people are born to deal with hard times. People are resilient. We always have been. American westward expansion. Social Security. Spam. Were all made possible people who thought creatively during challenging times.
It’s our adventurous spirit, our stick-with-it attitude that has conditioned us to endure hard times and, by doing so, bring forth great gifts. (Yes, even Spam).
This is a perfect time to remind your kids, and ourselves…again, that “steel strengthens steel,” “That tough times don’t last but tough people do,” and any other cliche’ for coping with adversity you find on the internet.
Yet we don’t need the internet to remind us that progress is made by people undeterred by the obstacles in their way. People who saw obstacles as opportunities.
We come from a long line of pioneers, explorers, and trailblazers. Hearty people, who used–get this–their God-given brain to solve problems, invent solutions, and prevail.
(While writing this post I googled : “How to be a parent” “How to be a parent during a pandemic” and “How do you know if your kid has internet addiction?”)
But just google “Amelia Earhart”, “Franklin D. Roosevelt”, “Fredrick Douglass” and you will find inspiring true stories about people who, long before the internet, used human courage and intuition to traverse adversity and do great things.
But what if the power goes out or you live with a tyrant who turns off the internet?
Then maybe life is over.
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4. Hearing his children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents and a beer with his friends)