The boy sat down to play his game And then called out his favourite name Mum, oh Mum oh Mother dear I’m rather thirsty over here If you could bring me a cold drink I promise not to make a stink But if you dawdle or refuse I promise you, you’ll sing the blues I’ll scream so loud you’ll wish that you Could seal your ears with superglue His Mum, a modern mother who Had read each book on what to do To raise a child with confidence Did not balk or look askance She poured his drink and carried it To where the boy did lounge and sit His headphones on, his gaze fixated Upon the screen, while he berated His hapless Mum for bringing him A drink without the ice cubes in Fix my drink, he said not looking While you’re at it get to cooking I’m hungry, how my belly rumbles Of course dear boy, his Mum did mumble She knew from searching on the net How hungry growing boys did get And how when they hit puberty Their manners could just up and flee For now she’d give this little lout The benefit of all her doubt But doubt it was that then did creep Across her mind as she did sleep And dreamt of quite another way To raise the kids of modern day The very next morning, full of gumption She vowed to stop her son’s consumption Of all the things online he viewed That served to make her polite boy rude She google searched for ways she could Get rid of all the screens for good Yet google was quite crystal clear There was no need to interfere TV’s were very inspirational Smart phones were so educational She also read how online gaming Was the modern way of entertaining In this new world the kids could play Without boundaries getting in the way They could be whatever they choose A ghost, a car, a dog with hooves Without it, the article was quite clear A child would be ostracised by their peers They’d have no place in this new world The one about to be unfurled The new frontier where all will dwell Safe in code while Earth went to hell And even though we have no say In if we want this world or nay She read it’s pointless to protest It’s coming soon, it’s for the best If you don’t plug your kids in now They’ll miss the boat, they won’t know how To live in this new metaverse And really nothing could be worse Than missing out on this bright future Support your child and his computer So she did what any Mum would do And brought him ice cubes with his food Then calmly and with little fear Took a hammer to the gear To all the goods that had a screen That sucked kid’s souls, made parents scream She smashed them, every single one The boy did cry, please stop it Mum! I’ll be good, I promise now Just one device, I beg allow Alas, she would have none of it And smashed it all to little bits At last, the boys cries did subside Emotion spent, he went outside And found a truly wonderous sight A garden green, lit with sunlight A swing, a ball, a trampoline The biggest he had ever seen He’d clean forgot he had all this So lost was he in gaming bliss And so he called up all his chums Come round he said, bring water guns And to his mother’s great delight He came and hugged her really tight I’m sorry Mum, for being an ass I can’t believe I was so crass My friends are coming, is that ok? Of course, she said, have fun and play And so they did, play all day long And joked and danced and sang their songs And each boy then did take a vow From this day on they would allow More time each day to play outside No longer online would they hide The park, the field, the streets, the bay So many places they would play They’d never forget just how much fun The real world was with all their chums And when each day of fun was done They all agreed they’d hug their Mums.
I spent a lovely evening with some Mum friends last night; almost inevitably our conversation turned to our children’s screen time and how best to manage it. I must admit I find it disconcerting that it feels almost impossible to live a life without electronic devices, yet none of us seem to have had much say in how technology has encroached upon our lives (the irony of posting this online is not lost on me). Today I read some Roald Dahl to cheer me up and this rhyming story was the result. I feel much better now, you’ve got to love a cathartic rhyme. I may read this one to my son at bedtime (if I can coax him off YouTube).
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4 thoughts on “The Rules of Play”
“The very next morning, full of gumption
She vowed to stop her son’s consumption
Of all the things online he viewed
That served to make her polite boy rude”
Love these lines. In my observation many a child, and adult, have morphed into a blob of snarling rude thanks to too much time in front of screens. I love them [the screens] but with limits!
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Thanks so much Ally, I enjoyed writing them.
Couldn’t agree more, such useful things but moderation is definitely needed…I think my family’s biggest tensions are down to screen time & it’s not just the kids 😂🙈
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So glad I don’t have to battle with this dilemma, I’ll be interested to see how my son deals with my granddaughter as she grows up in this technological world. I certainly will be encouraging as much outdoor ,natural play as possible when she spends time with me. I’ve already found her good trees to climb !
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It’s a minefield for definite. Those trees sound very inviting! 🌲