Tuesday, August 28, 2007

leapster CrapStart

i'm about to go can-a-whoop-a$$ on the Leap Frog family of products, just so you know. (like you couldn't tell from my title.)

so i just watched an ad on TV for this leap frog "clickstart" (the title [of this entry] is clickable so you can see the product i'm wail on) and was - once again - disgusted by the shit that is going on with kids today. so the scene is a young boy, about age 3-ish and he's playing on this toy computer. the mom comes up and starts telling him that what he's really doing is learning his shapes. NAAAH! says the boy. the mom presses and tells him he's learning his colors (or something like that) and he says NAAAAAH! and still she pushes and says oh yes, you are learning (get ready for this, it's the big one)

all the stuff you're gonna need for preschool.

did you get that folks? stuff he's going to need FOR preschool.

are these people for real?? SERIOUSLY?! now we need to get our kids "ready for preschool"? it's PRE. SCHOOL. as in: previous to school. the dictionary defines "pre" as: prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “before” (preclude; prevent); applied freely as a prefix, with the meanings “prior to,” “in advance of,” “early,” “beforehand,” “before,” “in front of,” and with other figurative meanings (preschool; prewar; prepay: preoral; prefrontal)..

and school (which has many definitions but i've chosen the most applicable) as: 1. an institution where instruction is given, esp. to persons under college age: [eg.] The children are at school. and 2. any place, situation, etc. tending to teach anything.

now we need to get our kids READY for the school they go to, to get ready for more school? so now they need to have all their shapes, colors, numbers and letters down before they go the place that's already teaching this stuff way too early. this is just GREAT.

"Timmy, no pressure or anything but you need to make sure you are at the top of your game for preschool. Can't be a slacker, you know. It's tough out there... So how about them shapes and numbers then." And the best part? Mommy doesn't have to be around.

Now, I can't wag my finger too hard at parents who need a break and employ the EBS (electronic baby-sitter) because that's what NOGGIN does for me more often than I care to admit. But my agenda is not to have the kids "learn something" from watching TV. we all know TV kills brains! (to be honest, it keeps ryan out of my hair for a few moments of peace and no-injuries-involved quiet.) and parents are fooling themselves if they think that buying these ridiculous battery operated "teachers" for their kids is going to help them any. i don't know (m)any adults that absolutely LOVE being attended to by automated, mechanical voices for mere seconds on the phone, let alone that grating robotic voice being your company and entertainment all day. kids need SO SO SO much more than toys that are supposed to teach them something. truth is they don't need that AT ALL. rather toys that will water and fertilize their very ripe imagination.

kids are not people with empty head that need to be filled!!! they have so much to offer our world. they need to be engaged, heard and respected as individuals.

A.S. Neil, founder of The Summerhill School best summarises my not humble enough opinion on what kids really need to foster optimum growth and development of the whole person. (please click the link and read the page. it's well worth it!)

parents, PLEASE - give your kids the best start: ludicrous, ridiculous, scandalous, perposterous, illogical unheard of amounts of unstructured PLAY, PLAY and MORE PLAY! trust me - it's ALL they need!!!

for me, my goal as a parent is not to have (raised) the smartest (= richest) adult on the block, but instead the most whole, happy, well-adjusted, loving, kind person s/he can be. and if my kids are happy 'sweeping streets' (to quote Neil), then so be it. can you imagine what we could do for the next generation if we stop perpetuating the lie that more money = more happiness?

house in a good neighborhood: $300,000
decent transportation: $20,000
being comfortable in your own skin:


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