Thursday, 5 June 2008

Kids' Pastime Places in Jordan

kids have energy. parents work to five pm most of the time, get home tired, they provide money to send kids to school. what do kids do after school? is the "7arra" a healthy place for kids?????

the most common answer is they do their homeworks and watch TV.. yupp. and? what do kids in Jordan do beside studying? whats the culture of raising children here at homes? what do we instill in kids at home to give them skills and orientation??? im not talking about manners and religion. im talking about the ENERGY a child possess.

i have a neighbor, a female 13 years old, who has a mobile sim card without the knowledge of her parents, who at an earlier age used to be a member in the Sports City and a member of the swimming team, fit with a decent mind with a follow up from her mother, she and her three best friends now have boyfriends which is a phase every school girl goes through.

One of her friends had her mom late to pick her up from the final exam today so i ended up talking to her for couple of hours while watching a DVD, as i was talking and listening to her, here are some points i found out..

no kid will study on regular basis and actually like or be related to the knowledge he is taught through Tawjihi system without a parental supervision to provide at least someone to really put the effort of instilling what knowledge and learning are, kids can finish their homeworks and excel in their studies if they did 45 min - 1 hour of review a day. this is not the issue i want to talk about.

what i was looking for is where are their thoughts, what fills up their heads, especially those girls..

now these girls come up to me and update me with what happens with their boyfriends and they are in the phase of the forever and ever, nails, fashion, cinema, boys. 8th graders.. they get to go out with their friends once a week, mostly Thursday, but what about the rest of the week? what do they do?

i have known them since they were 6 and 7 years old, now, i was looking at their heads, i didnt see but fairy marriage dreams. one of them said "i dont mind getting engaged and getting my parents officially knowing about my relationship on Tawjihi." the second feels her mom is an authoritarian for nagging to maintain a fit shape within +-2 kilos range, good grades and pushing her towards reading which is good but her mind just floats around when her friends are having totally different interests. the third is obsessed with the 7arra, TV, loves animals, walks around with her tawjihi sister who goes to see her boyfriend too, a riot at school with bad bad grades, attitude and who couldnt care less. i dont think she wants to do college. i tried teaching her math once, it was a disaster, she is not open to learning because she just dont want to listen.

The first had her introduction to what sex is in the 7th grade from her uncle who failed tawjihi. she dated a cousin for a while who used language which i just couldnt believe she knew, at a time of her life, at the 6th grade, she used to talk to a 23 years old. i freaked out! Horton hears a who is something she wont watch, she watches Noor, NCSI, LOST, Fashion House, Las Vegas. High School Musical. etc etc. you got the picture...

they used to play sports now they dont, either because their parents dont let them in the pool for their age or they can't either afford club fees which are relatively high or wont have time to do the drives back and forth, same for most of the families and this is just sports.. i was thinking what does the word pastime or hobby mean for a kid who is not an infant and not a 16 years old teen?

i was asking those girls, don't you like to be part of a sports team, learn to play a music instrument, act, write, sing?!!!!! what do you like????? how do you like to spend your time??

i didnt find answers. she only said, she wants to participate in a gym on machines subscription to fix her belly and thighs.. machines! 13 years old. what happened to OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES KIDS?

i asked her how much you spend thinking about your boyfriend??? she said all day.. i asked her how often you study,, she said, not everyday... but i like reading stories.

we dont have any places dedicated to developing thought in a happy and fun way to kids. i asked her what do you wanna do in college, what stream will you take at school?

she said she hates math, she likes english class, but she will study IT stream Tawjihi because its the easiest... her first answer was i will study computer science, then i asked do you like computers.... she said no!

we need places that allow school kids from different school to meet in an environment that enhances their thinking and doesn't limit them to dating only because since they are not allowed, they will want it more .. especially for schools that are only male, only female. kids need to use their energies, not spend it walking in the 7arra. give them that so they can focus on who they really are and discover themselves.


Moey said...

one word: jeel be5awwef.

ma konna heik, shu sayer bel denya!

Tala said...

i wish i know, but its that the most cautious parent don't know what happens with their kids. i gurantee you that. IB students in some some rich schools have access to viagra and distilled it in children juice during break!!

there are typical patterns for kids and youth growing in Amman, whether they were poor or have enough facilities available for them. i think we need to flip their heads back on real grounds in a happy encouraging way, not through showing them struggle and consequences.. give them some safe grounds of freedom, not fear.. to show them success stories, stuff to inspire them so they change the way they look at their future.

just talk to kids and ask questions, and you will see "3ajayeb"

Asal said...

i am officially shocked , speechless , and a lil bit dizzy !!!

are you serious ?? , girls dating at age of 13 , really ???

i guess that always comes as a wealth tax , i mean wealthy parents have no time to spend with their kids to know what they really doing in their life, they are making some bad bad compromises exchanging time sthey are supposed to spend with their kids with the time they need to make More and more $$ .

on the short term , this might seem a good deal for them , but i am pretty sure that investing time in your children is the best deal you can ever get :)

Tala said...

hello Sameer,

yupp, girls in Amman date at the age of 13, own phones, meet up in malls, and would take every inch if you taught them how to since this is what our tine abd culture r offering. the good news is that its not something to be scared of, it needs lots of honesty and caution and continous updates, actually their mothers met these boys as their daughters' friends and know that its natural for a girl to start developing crushes knowing that its just an innocent attraction but they underestimate this changing cloud in their heads and its effect on their emotions and characters, by the way this girl comes from a conservative family which is what im trying to stress.

the mother (kid2) doesnt know about the phone, doesnt know that her daughter's crush is a daily call and a 5 min meet up next to the school. she can't control the environment her school friends are from and what thoughts they bring in and who leads the group. the best way is to talk to her daughter and get her to express her thoughts and give her grounds of thinking to deal with what comes her way.

its not something for the rich or the poor, it could happen anywhere where kids are not given better things to think of to postphone this to later.. adult females date for years without the knowledge of their parents! its something really stupid.

if you are a conservative father and you wont send your daughter to a place to develop some interest in something, you are protective and you frame her in a home shell, you dont let her learn by exploring alone under your distanced supervision and still have fun, when her horizon is what she sees in the current TV series, visiting her friends in their homes, what do you think the entertainment element would be in her life other than finding something in the surrounding to occupy her.

kids need to be kept in check for where they are heading through asking questions like

" how was it like to ... , what do you think of ..., what do you like to learn next ... "

simply, we need to understand their experience so we dont lose connection with them.

khouloud said...

You shed the light on one of the most important issues Jordan faces! I started typing up a comment but it turned into a post that I'll be posting soon, I hope you don't mind inni ra7 2a2aldak bas you inspired me to post about this :)

Tala said...

please go ahead :D will be looking forward to it. Thx Khouloud for bringing it up.

Hareega said...

i was surprised when i checked your profile and it turned out you live in Amman. I thought you'd be living in the vegas strip

Tala said...

Welcome Hareega