When we were young, Saturday night was Hockey Night. The refrain from CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada is ingrained in our memories and we fondly remember staying up late and having popcorn, watching the game with our dads. Ryan and I have recently lamented that our kids don’t sit and watch hockey. The game might be on but they are in another room playing with the Wii or watching a sitcom. I worry that they aren’t getting enough family-time memories. Ryan worries that this affects their ability to understand positioning when they are on the ice.
So we’ve come to the conclusion that for this situation, Choice is Bad.
Back in the day, there was one tv in the house and on Saturday nights, it was tuned to the hockey game. We didn’t have to watch the game, but there wasn’t much else to do.
Hence the new tradition in our house – Hockey Night in Headingley. We tried nudges, but didn’t get the results we wanted and so have succumbed to a more paternalistic approach. Just like it was a generation ago, on Saturday nights the kids’ entertainment choices are severely limited. The family room TV is tuned to CBC. No other tv, iPad or video game is allowed to be turned on. So far it has not been an all-out success – the kids sometimes complain and groan – but they are in the room.
There is a lot written in economics about social capital within the community. We should also be concerned about social capital within the household. Family proximity and family cohesion are important for intra-household transfers of care and well-being of the elderly. But it’s also true that intergenerational transfers are gender biased, and that the presence of a sister in the family has been shown to benefit the communication of siblings as adults. As a mother of three boys, I need to do all I can to make sure the bond is strong and the memories are good to offset the absence of a daughter!
They may not like being forced to watch Coach’s Corner right now, but they’ll thank us for it later.