Though I, like you, am wrapped up in Easter planning and Supreme court decisions and wondering when the shnike global warming will kick in...
There is another national dilemma on our hands.
A couple, a pair of words to be exact, is going extinct. This pair is vital to our existence, it is vital for our sanity and most importantly it is better for our kids than drinking organic-paleo-green smoothies during their suzuki method violin lesson!
I have had years of research through nannying and mothering. And it wasn't until I heard these words uttered by an older generation set of parents that I even realized that they were missing from my own vocabulary... the words?
We, two sets of adults, were sitting at a table enjoying conversation when a child of the other couple approached us uttering two words that are in no danger of extinction: "I'm bored."
While I mentally drew up a list of things the child could do to entertain himself, even admonishing myself for not setting up a series of activities before I tried to have an adult conversation, the father of the other couple interrupted my thoughts with these two magical words I heard often in my youth.
Not, 'well, honey, there are crayons here, or play-doh there, or why don't you play freeze tag? or show your friend your button collection?' And certainly no, "I pinterested a wonderful pillowcase craft for you to do, let me grab the stencils and paint."
Nope. No hint, no suggestions, no help. Go play. Figure it out. Use your brain, your imagination, your creativity. Go play.
How did this get lost? Were we so incensed as kids that our parents did not schedule every minute of our free time that we vowed no such mistake would be made again? Did we hate those hours of exploring our local ravines? Are we miffed about wasting time hunting down the unicorn that we thought left tracks in our yard (only to find out that indeed they came from the dog)?
As the fifth of six children I had very few 'planned activities' prior to school sports starting and the few activities I remember... I remember being so angry at my mom for forcing me to go instead of letting me 'just play.'
I mean, I needed to get back to my Talk 'n Play! It let me hear Beatles songs backwards and my friend and I were totally going to be the first to figure out all the Beatles' songs 'real meanings!!' Yeah... can guarantee my parents didn't suggest that activity.. and it still makes me grin from ear to ear! And, bonus, I bet I know more about 'revolution #9' than you and ya can't take that away from me!
I read blogs about parents begging that we calm down the Holiday activity craziness and I read articles about college kids not being able to create a resume or dream for themselves without the help of their parents or a career counselor and I see symmetry.
I see myself filling my kids summer with camps and swim teams and 'theme weeks,' and I flash forward to planning their class schedules, wardrobe and college applications and I shudder... I'm already freaking exhausted!!
So for me, and for them. I am going to stop the madness in my own home and I am going to revive with aggressive CPR a dying phrase. GO PLAY.
"Mom, I'm bored," "Go Play."
"Mom, there's nothing to do." "Go Play."
"Mom, J's head is bleeding." "Go... wait, what?"
Ok, I agree... it could be seen as a path to lazy parenting... but I am going to do my best to find a middle ground.
So, if you'd like to join me for a cup of coffee, or a glass of sangria this summer.... come on over and bring your kids... but don't count on me planning a craft or whipping up a snack shaped like the founding fathers... your kids can go and play with mine...
and we'll talk...
probably about them... and what activities we're signing them up for in the fall...
thanks for reading,