Strewing for Teens

THE QUESTION:
I am very interested in "hearing" how some of you practice strewing for your older children - teenagers to be more specific. Strewing was brought up in another thread and it just got me to thinking. That is an area that I really need to improve on - well and just provide a richer environment for my 15 year ds.

Without going into unnecessary details our family is just coming out of a very stressful lengthy time in our lives and we are ready for (and actually need) more fun and enrichment in our lives. Hmmm.... I'm realizing that I just went from the strewing idea for my ds to what our family needs.

We've been in the grind of life for so long that even when we want to do something fun we don't know what to do. That is sooo sad. I think I need to make that my mission ... to lighten things up around here. BUT .. maybe that's why I have trouble with strewing as well. I want to "strew" but usually what I come up with is of little interest to ds probably because my idea of strewing is bringing home books from the library to "strew" about. Well... that's fine except my ds is not a book guy. If it looks fun and interesting he might thumb through it a bit but that as far as it goes ... which is fine. But... there is so much more to life.

Can anyone help me here ... shed some light... give me a starting point? My ds is a drummer and WoW kind of person. Those are his interests along with fitness.

SOME IDEAS:
Here are some samples of what we do:

videos/films/TV/ Ed (dad) and I rented a movie we wanted to see. Zac said he was not interested when we were at the rental store - but when Ed & I sat down to watch it, Zac said, "If you wait until I finish my game I'll watch it with you." and he did - which led to links about the old west, bandits, Hole In the Wall, geographic locations, history of people and places, hidden treasures, etc. We ended up on the computer looking up more information. Which then led to links about hiking in these areas and hiking safety, etc. Zac finally wandered off. ;)

computer games and games for his game consoles - some are rented and some are purchased. Sometimes this involves simply stepping out of the way - for instance if he is into a computer game for several days we give full access to the computer.

keeping our eyes open for things in the community that would be of interest. For example we know he loves anything to do with history and particularly war history - so we went to a large civil war battle reenactment - talked about it for a month before hand which led to all sorts of connections; we go to the local Renaissance fair every year; driving down the highway we see a small military museum with lots of "equipment" in the yard - we stopped and visited with the people running it - all veterans;

We found out about a "science class" more like science exploration led by an adult - at a really neat science store - he goes once a month to that - dad goes with him. The store is as much fun and as interesting as the class ;) it is full of rocks/minerals/ telescopes/ etc. all things that our son is passionate about.

We found a "chain maille" making class that he went to several times this past winter (as long as the people were doing them).

He got into making full sized wooden (replica) swords last year, so we facilitated with trips to the lumber yard; hardware store and fabric store;

While driving, Ed will ask: do we want to take the fast way home or a different route? We took a different route the other day - we saw what looked to be an old but elegant apartment building set back on a beautiful, park like lawn. We made comments about it and wondered about it. We got home and looked it up and there was the history of the place, a condo for sale (2.5 Million) with a maintenance fee of $3000.00 a month, which led to a discussion of our income/lifestyle in comparison, etc.

We set up an ant farm in the main living area for a while; we have several pets; We have a hamster that is so lively and entertainning that we put her on the kitchen pennsulia where we see her antics all the time (VS in a bedroom where we would not see her much). This gives us common connections (oh my gosh come see what Camille is doing); We have bird feeders in our yard and huge windows where we can see out with a bird identifing book lying about;

Zac is into late seventies (classic and hard rock) music which leads to a lot of You Tube exlploring and down loading music onto his mp3 player - sometimes You Tube is great for clicking and clicking and clicking - the connections that lead every where. For example Zac loves Star Wars, he was exploring Star Wars on You Tube the other day and came across a guy playing a Star Wars theme song on Bag Pipes (Zac loves bagpipe music and has a good friend that plays pipes & drums in a piping band) so that led to listening to bagpipe champions play some really rocking music!!! He started off looking for Star Wars stuff and ended up exploring Bag Pipe music.

For Zac, books are for looking at and exploring - mostly small amounts of reading with lots of pictures w/captions. He loves loves loves Manga books from Japan and Anime. I cannot seem to pick those correctly though - I bought a whole set of 25 books on eBay for Christmas and he refuses to read them - says he is not interested in that series - lesson learned for me is: let him pick the series.

Around here there is a lot of: Hey Zac you should come see this - or - hey mom/dad you should come see this - it could be a bird, spider web, dogs doing something cute/funny/crazy; something on the computer; last night it was the really neat moon as we were driving home (hey look at the really neat moon that is out tonight.) OR a movie/film/TV show that we would like to share with someone.

Keep your eyes and ears open for anything and everything that might be of an interest to your son as well as the family and keep providing opportunities.

Lisa W.

sorry - one more thought.

I try to hang out close to Zac even if we are doing different things.

For example I often sit in the recliner chair that is close to the computer while I'm reading (what I love to do), while he is on the computer (doing what he loves to do) playing a game or messing around with You Tube or something else on the computer. It makes it easy for him to draw my attention to something - ask me something - have a short discussion or a lengthy one - and then we melt back into our own worlds for a while - it's a momentary connection but it is still there. We will often touch each other in small ways too - for example he may reach out with a foot and place it on my leg while drawing my attention or discussing something. Or I may toss a koosh ball at him just to connect. OR when I go to get something from the kitchen I'll ask him if he needs or wants anything to eat or drink. Being close also allows us to point out things like a bird at one of the feeders, the dogs doing something or other, etc. If I'm reading the newspaper I might come across something I think he'd be interested in hearing about - for example I read him a blurb about someone finding a 2000 year old seed and growing a plant from it.

And beside having the momentary connection it lets me in on his interests and he knows ours.

Oh other things that have been going on lately:

Ed (dad) has always wanted the series "The Muppet Show" so we finally bought them for him - who would have guessed that Zac would decide they were hilarious and set us a schedule of watching one episode per night as a family activity. Which also led to more You Tube exploring "The Muppet Show" and the various guests that were on the show.

I must add here that we show a huge interest in things Zac is interested in too - Star Gate SG1; Investigative/Foresincic shows (who dune it types); Ghost hunters just for the fun of it; anything to do with Military or history or si-fi (science fiction); Or we all love to watch MASH together and that led to Hogan's Hero's.

LEGO's are also still huge around here. Anything that lends itself to building and constructing. Even jigsaw puzzles now and then if we do them as a family.

If I set out a board game it will often get played - put it in the spare bedroom where we store everything and it just sits.

So again a lot of our strewing is simply living and going with the flow BUT always being alert to those connections and subtle shows of interests - kind of like when an animal perks up their ears at something that catches their interest - sometimes it is but a brief moment and you have to have been aware and seen it happen to capitalize on it.

Lisa W.


-=-I'm realizing that I just went from the strewing idea for my ds to what our family needs. -=-

Well, it's the same thing.

Your family needs to be interested and interesting. Go places. Bring things and people in. Visit friends of yours who have cool stuff or do interesting things. Ask him to go with you if you take the dog to the vet. Drive home different ways and take your time. Putz around. Go to the mall some morning when it's not at all full of teens and windowshop.

If you can at all afford it, find something in another town like a play, concert, museum, event and take him there. Stay overnight.

Go touristing somewhere not too far from you. Like if you had out of town guests, but just go with your son.

Watch DVDs together.

Is there something you do that he might want to learn? Is there something you could learn together? Maybe the two of you could take a class or join a group that does... photography, hiking, quilting, scrapbooking, pottery, woodworking...

Last week I took Holly and her boyfriend too when Marty and I were going to the credit union to get money to get a used Jeep he wanted. That was a learning and sharing experience for us all.

Sandra


More on teens and more about strewing.