Pharos-Tribune

Columns

January 12, 2014

CEPEDA: The joy of making things

My family isn’t big on New Year’s resolutions but it’s pretty clear our 2014 will be about the physical, the tangible and the tactile.

It crystallized two weeks before Christmas when gift lists started emerging. This was a departure from the last two years when all that my two sons wanted were envelopes stuffed with cash and video games.

After having resigned ourselves to quiet Christmas mornings with no piles of bright paper and discarded bows, this year was blissfully different. The change back to wanting actual presents caught us off guard, making us scramble to make it all happen. But my husband and I happily trooped up and down our stairs early Christmas morning after a marathon session of wrapping and tagging boxes of every size and shape.

Again there were piles of discarded boxes and packing peanuts to tidy after our boys settled in to watch lava lamps glow, build LEGO sets and wield new lightsabers, with nary an iTunes gift card in sight.

During my holiday break I unplugged completely and finally finished knitting a blanket I had neglected for years. My husband dedicated almost his entire break to mastering the banjo he took up last summer. The kids went sledding and ice-skating. We all did a lot of talking.

Is this what it looks like when a family of fervent, iPhone and iPad-toting Netizens grows fatigued of being always connected to and fully immersed in virtual worlds?

Maybe.

My oldest son has never known life that did not depend on his electronics and their connections to the Internet. Yet the end of his 2013 was consumed by fantasies about moving out into the wilderness and living strictly off the land.

We had finally gotten him out of a failing school district and into one where the high school boasts that 62 percent of its students are “ready for college coursework,” as measured by the Illinois state report card. Yet the big deal in our freshman’s life is that he’s stocked his sophomore year with metal shop and woodworking classes.

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