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Drastic times call for drastic measures... - Fernandes Fitness
My family – Zach [middle], Tulip and Shelly [not pictured] recently enjoyed a sunset picnic on Assateague Island in Berlin, MD.

Allow me to take you back in time — 1 week to be exact — to the day Shelly and I did the unthinkable.

We took the video game system out of Zach’s room, as a sort of social experiment.

With an end goal of teaching our 11-year-old son that there’s more to life than electronic devices.

Today’s youth spend way too much of their life sitting in front of screens than outside having fun, enjoying some fresh air and getting some much-needed exercise.

It’s gotten to the point where we have given Zach permission to go outside and get dirty, skin his knees and elbows and get into mischief — much like my generation did as kids.

We didn’t have many, if any, electronic devices back then, and had only a few channels to watch on television.

We’re one week into this experiment, and I won’t lie and say that it’s been a smooth ride this past week.

I don’t buy the blasé response he gave me the other day.

Zach shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s OK,” when I asked him how the past week has been for him.

Zach at his first Major League Baseball game with me and Shelly in July 2018 at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y.

Aside from playing soccer, Zach has been used to the same unhealthy routine for far too long. So I don’t buy that having his routine abruptly changed is “OK.”

Video games as soon as he gets home from school…

And in too many cases, video games for most of every evening before he heads to bed…

And then more video games for countless hours on the weekends.

So it has been challenging for him to figure out what he should do to fill the large void video games previously occupied.

Video games take away the need to use your imagination, so it doesn’t come easy when you haven’t used it.

Glimpses of change

This experiment hasn’t solved every issue pertaining to how Zach is using his time. But we have seen glimpses of the kid who, not too long ago, had such a vivid imagination. He could turn any toy in his closet into a new adventure.

Like this toy crane he has…he found a way to incorporate it into his love for professional wrestling.

Many times, I found him in his room with his wrestling rings and action figures on the floor, and a championship belt dangling from the crane above the ring. I couldn’t help but smile. It reminded me of my childhood, where having fun took a little ingenuity and creativity.

Then we bought him a XBox for Christmas a couple of years ago.

The pandemic struck.

Schools closed.

And the only way he could communicate with his friends was through that XBox.

Zach at his soccer game on Sept. 18, 2021, at Seaside Christian Academy fields in West Ocean City, MD.

How could we deprive him of the interaction he enjoys with his friends…

But more than a year has passed, so now we want him to enjoy some semblance of normalcy that kids today don’t truly appreciate.

Be a kid again…

We want him…

To knock on his friends’ doors and convince them to put the video game controller down and head outside to play.

And to enjoy the beautiful weather, a big part of the reason why we moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the first place.

We want him to be active, get some exercise, be healthy.

We want him to be a kid – I guess like I was a kid.

Seems simple. But simplifying things meant, like the title says, taking drastic measures.

The jury’s still out as to what will happen.

We’re only a week in at this point. But we hold out hope.

He was a kid once before. We hope he recaptures how that feels once again.