I’ve been working on an article for Richmond Family Magazine and looking forward to the warm spring weather.
I grew up in a big family, and one of the worst things you could do as a kid in our house was to wake the baby. Now that I’m a mother, I totally get that. You NEVER wake a sleeping baby! I was a kid; it was a warm, sunny day. How was I supposed to remember every single time, that slamming the back door would wake an exhausted mother and my newest little brother? Being a slow learner, one of my sharpest childhood memories is hearing my mother say, “Go back outside and play!” I also remember telling her that there’s nothing to do and being offered the opportunity to fold laundry.
As a mother, myself, I worry that my own children have too few inducements to play outside. I watch as video gaming is always the ‘go to’ bordom buster, and I don’t want them to become a media statistic. They are great kids. I am amazed and awed by them as they work really hard at academics and extra-curriculars. At the same time, I ponder my own growing up years and a gut feeling that there is something profoundly valuable in having an unstructured (and largely unsupervised) childhood. I don’t want my own children to miss out on the activities their friends are doing, but at the same time, I wonder if I should try to have the Kool-Aid house on the block and encourage more unstructured, outside meandering and pretending and working it out.
So I called my mother. “What was the equivalent situation when I was the child and you were the parent? What did you worry about?” When mother and daughter live at opposite ends of the Baby Boomer generation, both the question and its answer should surprise no one. “Me, worry?” my mother replies. “Why would I worry? Kids grow up in spite of parents…not because of them!”
She probably also wanted to tell me to go outside and play. The baby was still sleeping, and we wouldn’t want to wake her.
So I went back to researching the article for a spring issue of Richmond Family Magazine. An award winning film, Play Again was the inspiration for my writing, and the ideas were taking shape. Watch.
It’s snowing today, and the kids are out of school. I’m going outside to play. Check back to see that article once it’s finished.