Monday, December 21, 2015

elazar's tablet

Elazar wanted a game on the computer (Geometry Dash).  Our computer is not top of the line, and apparently the program that you need so you can have apps on desktops doesn't work on our computer because our graphics are not advanced enough.  So Elazar decided to save up for a tablet.  He's 8.  Chana bought herself an ipad when she was 12, half with money she had saved up plus half given to her by us for babysitting for a year for me while I taught.  The boys have no phones, no tablets, and no ipads.  Even though I allow unlimited TV and unlimited video games (we have gamecube and my brother lent us his xbox about a year ago) and unlimited computer, the kids are not allowed to touch our phones and they are restricted to the desktop in the main area and my old chromebook whose screen is green and wobbly.  And there are 2 or 3 Nintendo DS's lying around, but nobody has used them in a while.  Jack (not yet 6) has a Nintend 2DS that he saved up for for about 2 years.

Elazar finally saved up about 78 dollars since Rosh Hashana and wanted to buy himself a tablet.  I agreed to get him one and found one for a good price.  It was such a good price I almost bought one or two more for the other boys.  But I feel strongly that devices have to be earned.  Chana got her first computer because I was on bedrest and my brother gave her his old one for being my go-fer for 8 weeks.  She got her second computer as a siyum for Shmos.  She will get her upgraded computer (it's been about 4 years) when she finishes Devarim.  So I held off and didn't get the boys tablets.  I was waiting to give Elazar his tablet for Pesach.  (We don't do birthday gifts or Chanuka gifts but we do give a gift for Rosh Hashana, Succos, Shemini Atzeres, Pesach, and Shavuos.)

Today, Elazar realized that he himself was paying for it, so he shouldn't have to wait until Pesach.  I thought that was an excellent point.  However, I wanted to give it to him for some type of siyum.  I mentioned that if he ever finishes halacha yomi, I will get him a top of the line gaming computer so that he can play the latest version of minecraft (ours is so slow and old we need to run a previous version; I am not sure what they are up to but we can run 8 and not 11 or something like that).  I told him it took Chana almost 7 years to learn the Chamisha Chumshei Torah, so it will take years to go through all of Shulchan Aruch.  So we were trying to think of what he can do for the tablet.  Since he still can't read, I asked him what he thought about reading Shema.  He thought that was a good idea.

When we got home, the tablet had arrived.  Elazar tried it out and he loves it.  (Unfortunately, it has speech-to-text, which means he won't need to learn how to write for searches anymore.)

When he started reading Shema, I realized that it was going to take him a while to gain enough fluency to earn his tablet.  And it might be a good idea if he wouldn't have to wait until completing Shema to use the tablet, so that he doesn't get discouraged and give up.  Why not read some and then earn an hour of playtime?  He's been reading a line and earning an hour.  I set the timer.  Then he wants to read another line and earn an hour.  He's basically doing the same multimedia use that he generally does, but he's been reading to earn time.

I assume this is not strictly in the spirit of unschooling, where I would not be pushing him to read Hebrew before he himself feels like doing it.  I guess I'm still a bit too chicken to do that.

On the other hand, I feel pretty strongly that it is so easy to spoil the kids in our society full of abundance.  Kids used to have to help for hours with chores that were necessary for survival.  Adults used to have to spend a day baking bread and a day doing laundry by the river.  Now kids have so much free time and so little input in contributing to survival that I feel like I'm often fighting against a mentality of "בא לי"/"It's coming to me," I should get it because I want it.  A sense of entitlement.

I want there to be a sense of working for it.  And I want to cultivate a sense of "הוי עמלים בתורה" the area for toil is Torah.  I want the excitement and delight of his first tablet forever mingled with the accomplishment of Torah.

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