Well, we've reached those magical four days before the fast begins. The boys have two or three present to open each day. I think they are rather disappointed to find clothing and books, and not any DVDs or video games, but I think the books they are getting are good.
This has me thinking about what my sons do with their free time. When I was their age I loved to read, and I read quite a bit more than they are reading now. But, I also liked to play computer games (I think Atari games came out when I was in fifth or sixth grade). Back in 1980-1982 I had a TRS-80 Color Computer, and I pretty much learned how to type by trying to write programs in BASIC to generate characters for Dungeons and Dragons games. I played D&D, Diplomacy, and spent many hours outdoors walking around cornfields and woods and the neighborhood, or went on long (sometimes 20+ mile) bike rides on rural roads through the countryside north of Indianapolis. I was in a soccer league, and then ran in cross-country and track in middle school, and I joined Boy Scouts when I was in sixth grade, around the time my dad moved out when my parents separated. That was my life in late elementary and middle school.
My sons don't have quite the same life. The Internet, Game Cube, X-Box 360, Wii, and GameBoy systems give them a more attractive way to practice their eye-finger coordination than the TRS-80 and Atari did. I think rather than use the "four-hour per week with extra hours allowed if an adult is playing with you" as our limit for computer gaming and playing on the internet, we're going to shift to a system where minutes of screen time are bought by reading. Every page read in an approved book gets a minute of screen time. So, the Ayyam-i-Ha gifts give them some good choices for reading, I hope.
I'm wondering what to do about the fast. Usually I go to bed early, wake up early, and there's nothing much to it. If you wake up at 5:00, finish breakfast by 6:00, and you've gone to sleep at 9:00 or 10:00 the previous evening, the fast is easy to do. But, my habit is to grade papers and participate in online discussions (for my classes) after my sons go to bed (between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.). The switch in sleeping habits that comes with March can sometimes be difficult at first. Lately I've been up late putting up photographs (180 of them) from my recent college renewal, which you can see here, here, and here.
(I'm a practicing and enrolled Baha'i, and Baha'i adults of a certain age, when in good health and not traveling, refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours from March 2 to March 20).