Tag Archives: Rent

Bored Games

by Richard

The past is making a comeback in the Jones household.

Despite the fact that we have (in the opinion of the parents) far too many electronic games, game systems and other assorted pixelated attention grabbers in the house (and reading that feels like the 21st-century equivalent of yelling “You kids get off my lawn.), the games that have been getting used the most lately are, in fact, board games.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I and my wife, known to the young dudes as She Who Must Be Hatin’ On The TV, have basically forbidden the use of the television, video game systems and computers during the school week. Well, we’re not absolutists. We’ll let them watch something educational occasionally, or sports-related, but plain cartoons or other junk shows? Nope. Nada.

All of which means our young dudes are really quite upset with us for this. However, the white-hot hate has banked a bit as the year has gone along and the young dudes have become used to the restrictions. Now, especially with Hyper Lad, things seem to be turning around.

In the last week or so, we’ve had a Hyper Lad-led Scrabble tournament. Not a tournament, per se. Just a lot of playing of the word game. I actually won a game this time around. Normally I’m terrible at Scrabble. I know a lot of words, but trying to make what I know fit the mess on the board. . . Not nearly the best at it. And, yes, I know it’s tacky to brag about besting an 11-year-old at a game, but, well, come on. It doesn’t happen all that often.

The older dudes have been seeing Hyper Lad, his mom and I having so much fun they’ve started to get interested in playing. So far, Sarcasmo has destroyed me in chess a number of times and Zippy the Monkey Boy is trying to figure out how to whip my butt in what I’m calling laser chess. (No, really.)

Anyway, I’m quite enjoying the return face to face fun, where the competition is based on mind vs. mind, rather than thumb versus electronic thingy. And, yes, I freely admit to being a bit old-fashioned on this one. Not that I don’t love a good round blow-’em’up with Nathan Drake in Uncharted 2, but I like being able to interact with my young dudes without his serving as intermediary.

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Freaky Friday: Bully Brains

by Richard

This is actually kind of scary. We know that being bullied makes for some big-time backlash for the young dudes who get bullied. What we didn’t know until recently is that being bullied also makes some physical changes in the brains of those kids who get bullied.

Yeah, that’s right. Young dudes who get bullied actually suffer permanent changes to the structure of their brains because of the bullying.

If we thought there was a reason to crack down on bullying in schools before, brother, you’d better believe there’s more of a reason now.

They lurk in hallways, bathrooms, around the next blind corner. But for the children they have routinely teased or tormented, bullies effectively live in the victims’ brains as well — and not just as a terrifying memory.

Preliminary evidence shows that bullying can produce signs of stress, cognitive deficits and mental-health problems.

Now University of Ottawa psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt and her colleagues at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario plan to scan the brains of teens who have been regularly humiliated and ostracized by their peers to look for structural differences compared with other children.

“We know there is a functional difference. We know their brains are acting differently, but we don’t know if it is structural as well,”said Vaillancourt, an expert in the biology of bullying.

According to Vaillancourt, she finds changes to the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.

Bullied young dudes have already been found to score lower on tests that measure verbal memory and executive function, a set of skills needed to focus on a task and get the job done. Mental-health problems, such as depression, are also more common.

Come on, dudes. This is ridiculous. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in schools that’s actually enforced all the time, every time.  Kids need to feel safe when they’re at school, trying to learn.

I mean, come on. How can you learn if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, fearing the next push or the next time someone starts name calling?

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Cheers

by Richard

The middle young dude, Zippy the Monkey Boy, goes to a private school, which means we pay (out the nose) for his education. And the lovely thing is this means it’s like he’s going to college for four years before he goes to college.

Anyway, there are times when he’s overjoyed to be going there and I’m a little suspect. Today is one of those times.

Every year, the high school portion of his school packs up and the young dudes and dudettes head out to camp. Yes, they’re going to Camp Cheerio, the same place Zippy the Monkey Boy, Hyper Lad and Sarcasmo, have spent so many happy summer months.

Now, the school says this three-day excursion is an exercise in team building and getting the students into a different setting to work on their educations and their approach to learning.

Me? I’m thinking it’s more of a mini-vacation for a group of students, who already have far too many days off during the school year.

Yes, I am turning into a grumpy old man. Why do you ask?

Zippy the Monkey Boy loves it, though, so I’ve decided to quit griping. At least in public. Well, at least where he’s likely to notice it anyway.

The good news is that it’ll be two days where I won’t have to actually dynamite the young dude out of bed on school mornings and that’s always good for my blood pressure.

So, I guess, cheers!

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