Robots in a row with happy new year in computer code

Robot Resolutions

Guiding Boys Beyond the Gadgets

Inspired by The Manhood Manual book series, our e-newsletter brings parents and educators a blend of fun stories, challenges, and growth lessons for boys on their path to manhood. Expect a COOL IDEA for engaging learning, a BIG PROBLEM to ponder about growing up, and a LESSON LEARNED to help build remarkable boys.

Welcome to the first edition of The Manhood Minute of the new year! As we spring into the future, it’s essential to remember that while technology enriches our lives, it is the human connection that truly shapes us. In January, we’re putting a playful spin on robots to remind us of the importance of friendships and shared adventures in the real world. So, let’s power down the gadgets and gear up for a month of creativity, camaraderie, and character-building fun!

The Cool Idea

Build & Bond: Friendship Bots
This month’s activity is an exciting way to blend creativity and companionship, perfect for guiding your young man on his journey. We’re building Friendship Bots, a project that’s not just about crafting a robot, but also about forging lasting bonds. Here’s how you can steer this engaging project:
  • Collect Materials: Start by gathering items like empty cereal boxes, old CDs, bottle caps, and plastic containers. Have on hand some glue, tape, and maybe paints or markers to bring these bots to life with a dash of personality. 
  • Organize the Event: Invite one of your child’s friends over for a bot-building session. Guide them to make two bots each – one they’ll keep and one they’ll gift to their friend. It’s a great way for them to learn about sharing and giving.
  • Encourage Creativity: Let them decide on the design of their bots. Whether they opt for simplicity or go for something more elaborate, encourage them to add unique touches like wheels, antennas, or invent stories about their robot’s origins.  Sure, you can help, but remember this is their project.  Give them the freedom to build and bond. 
  • Capture the Moment: Don’t forget to take a photo of the kids with their Friendship Bots. Sharing these images allows us to celebrate their creativity and the new friendships that are blossoming.  The memories will last a lifetime. 
So, let’s get started! This is about making something awesome and remembering the good times with friends. Let’s dive into the new year by creating cool stuff and great memories.

The Big Problem

In today’s world, electronic gadgets are everywhere and they present a huge challenge for boys growing up.  It’s crucial to address how easily kids can become absorbed in the world of electronics so they don’t miss out on real-life experiences and friendships.
This month, our focus is on balancing screen time with real-world interactions. How can we help our boys look away from their devices to discover the joy of the world around them?  The solution involves small yet consistent efforts. We can start by discussing the importance of personal connections, setting limits on screen use, and offering fun alternatives to digital activities.  Some helpful reads to dial gadget use down include:
  • “Disconnected” by psychotherapist and school counselor Tom Kersting, delves into the impact of excessive screen time on children. Observing kids engrossed in devices at various places, Kersting notes the worrying trend of the average 13-year-old spending eight hours daily on screens. This habit, he argues, is rewiring children’s brains, leading to increased anxiety, depression, and attention issues. However, Kersting offers hope by suggesting practical strategies to reduce screen time. He also recommends meditative and mindfulness techniques to help children regain control over their emotional well-being.
  • “Glow Kids” by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras delves into the serious impact of screen technology on children. The book challenges the idea that screen time is a harmless trend or educational tool, presenting evidence that excessive use of glowing screens is as addictive as drugs like cocaine, activating the brain’s pleasure centers. Kardaras highlights alarming correlations between screen time and various disorders in children.   The book aims to raise awareness about the impact of technology on kids.
Let’s talk with our boys about the impact of technology on their lives. Encourage them to think about why it’s sometimes hard to step away from screens and what they might be missing. This isn’t about criticizing technology; it’s about finding its rightful place and ensuring it doesn’t diminish the value of real human experiences.

The Lesson Learned

Looking for something to help move your child in the right direction?  Hard to find, but worth the search, is The Boy’s Book of Adventure:  The Little Guidebook for Smart and Resourceful Boys.  This guide is the ultimate outdoor adventure book for boys, packed with exciting nature facts, activities, and crafts. Learn about everything from insects and rocks to map reading and knot tying, all vividly illustrated. This durable, all-in-one guide is perfect for camping trips and exploring the great outdoors.
This month, we’re reminded of a timeless truth, especially relevant in our digital age: the value of being truly present. In a world where attention is often split, teaching our boys to immerse themselves in their surroundings is invaluable. Research shows that time spent away from screens, engaging directly with others and the environment, is crucial for children’s cognitive and social growth. By balancing screen time with real-world interactions, boys are not just making friends and memories; they’re developing empathy, problem-solving abilities, and emotional intelligence.
As we conclude this Manhood Minute, remember that every day brings new adventures. From building Friendship Bots to having real conversations, these experiences are essential in shaping our young men.  Here’s to a year of real connections, genuine laughter, and growth that comes from putting aside our devices and engaging fully with each other. Let’s start the adventure!
Invest a minute and inspire a lifetime . . .

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