Letter to My Sons #26

My Dear Sons,

I understand you are hating me right now. You think I am ruining your life, but I am trying to prevent you from ruining your life. I can’t sit back and watch you sink deeper and deeper into the digital ocean. Taking away your digital devices is a difficult decision, but I have to make it because I love you.

I understand your frustration right now, but it will be better for you in the long run. I don’t know how long it will take before I let you get back online, but I need you to know your priorities. Playing video games and spending hours on devices aren’t your priorities. I talked to you about priorities and responsibilities over and over again, but nothing sank in. My words don’t mean anything because the digital world has taken over your head.

You don’t want to go anywhere because you want to stay home to spend time on your device. Your mother and I give you so many opportunities we didn’t have when we were kids, but you took them for granted. You gave up ice skating. You gave up ice hockey. You gave up swimming. You gave up rollerblading. You don’t even want skiing or snowboarding anymore.

How many times have I told you that skiing or snowboarding is a privilege not all the kids your age could have. It is not a cheap sport, but we are bootstrapping as much as we can to give you some fun time during the winter. You choose to stay home and spend time online.

You are losing interest in playing piano. You rather spend time playing video games than practicing piano. If you continue down this path, you will struggle with school work as well. You have yet to figure out how to balance your time. In the last several months, I gave you the freedom to take responsibility for your own choices, but you had shown that you were not ready to keep your balance.

We tried to cut down digital time to an hour a day, but that didn’t work either. You could not leave the device when your time was up. We had to repeatedly ask you to log off. My biggest failure as a parent is not being firm enough with you. My words are no longer effective when I am being too soft with you.

I struggle with what I should do. Should I let you do whatever you want and hope for the best? I can’t stop caring, concerning, and worrying about you. It would be much easier for me to let loose, but I just can’t watch you ruin your life. I don’t know how you will turn out in the future. I just hope that I won’t regret anything I could have done for you but I didn’t.

You are right. I am not a good father. Being a parent is way more stressful than I had imagined. I am not concerned about being a failure. I am not concerned about how you will turn out. My concerns are that you will go on and live a good life when I will no longer be around.