Archive | February 2014

Let Kids Do Nothing

It’s Friday.  The day the world rejoices because their work week is over.  It’s the only day of the school week that my kids don’t mind getting up.  Weekends are full of possibility and free time.  To me, the beauty of the weekend is sleeping in, and enjoying my time at home.  It’s also a chance to do laundry (just enough to get through a couple of days), clean the house (just enough to avoid a ‘condemned’ notice from the health department), and perhaps cook a meal that doesn’t involve french fries and the microwave.   Mostly, I just enjoy being home.  I am a homebody.  I like going out sometimes, but my home is my oasis from the craziness of the world.  I don’t need my weekends full of social events and gatherings.  In fact, being out and about all weekend would stress me out.

Unfortunately, my kids disagree.  Right after the school buses come rolling by to drop off my little darlings, the pestering starts.  “What are we doing this weekend?”  “I’m bored.”  “How can you stand being home and not doing anything?”  “Can we do something?”  Granted, it’s fun for kids to have places to go and things to do on the weekend.  And we DO do things.  They spend a lot of time with their friends, and we occasionally go out to eat, or to a kid-friendly entertainment spot.  But the incessant requests for entertainment from Friday night to Sunday night is a little much.

I tell them all the time that when I was a kid, we didn’t spend all weekend going to places to be entertained.  Once in a while we would do things like that, but for my generation, weekends were spent with friends from the neighborhood.  Our days were filled with riding bikes, going to the park, and hanging out at each other’s houses.  It was the 70s and an awesome time to be a kid.  Even when we were home, we did things like hang out in our rooms, playing by ourselves, drawing, or reading.  We even went outside alone, or with siblings, to find things to do.  I know it isn’t the 70s any more and times have changed.  But when did it become the norm for people to spend weekends, school breaks and summer vacations endlessly entertaining their kids?

On a very frequent basis,  my kids tell me about all the fun things their friends are going to do and the places they go with their parents.  I see it myself on facebook at the end of almost every weekend.  Many parents post multiple pictures of their kids out at restaurants, the skating rink, the trampoline park, the theater, hotels, rock climbing, bowling, the movies, etc…and these are people who do several of these things EVERY weekend. When are the kids getting time to just hang out and BE?

When did we turn into a society that makes entertaining our kids a priority every weekend?  How will these kids learn to cope with quiet and solitude? How will they learn to cope with being bored, and finding something to do by themselves?  How will they learn to be their own friend?  The need that so many kids have for constant stimulation makes me sad.  Having down time and finding creative ways to entertain themselves now, will be of benefit to them as they get older.

As they say, “to each his own.”  They also say, “everything in moderation.”  In my opinion, it’s important for everyone…kids and adults…to learn to stop and smell the roses.  Go out to that restaurant, or to a party, but save just a little bit of time for doing nothing.  Doing nothing sparks creativity, and gets the brain thinking.  It leaves time for imagination to be used.  It lets the brain rest.  The world still needs creativity, imagination and new ideas.  Doing nothing leaves time for those things.  It really is okay to do nothing.

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The Corgi, the Chihuahua, and the Pit Bull

Facebook has been inundating my page with all kinds of quizzes.  Which Soprano are you? Which Family Guy Character are you? Which Seinfeld character? And so on.  I admit, they’re fun to take, and really pretty accurate for something so…corny.  The latest one I took was “What type of dog are you?”  I assumed I would get some cute, lovable breed like golden retriever, based on my penchant for chasing balls, eating cookies and looking cute.  But no.  I got Pit Bull.  Those of you who know my opinion on the killing, maiming breed will see the hilarious irony of that.  The description wasn’t so bad…it said that I am sweet and lovable, but misunderstood.  Thankfully, it left out my violent tendencies toward innocent toddlers.  But I digress.

My daughters saw this quiz while annoyingly reading over my shoulder while I was on Facebook last night.  Being dog lovers, they wanted to take the quiz.  They went through the questions and answered them as well as they could.  I’m really glad that neither one of them picked “sex” as their favorite exercise.  But again, I digress.  One of them turned out to be a corgi and one of them, a chihuahua.  The descriptions were relatively accurate, but they are irrelevant to my point.  My favorite question on this quiz was “What’s your biggest pet peeve?”  Both of my girls answered with, “People who are judgmental.”  That happens to be the same pet peeve I picked in the quiz.

I sat here as they finished taking their quizzes and thought about their intolerance toward judgmental attitudes.  I knew they both had a disdain for that particular character trait, and we’ve discussed why people are the way they are in the past.  My oldest daughter is always quick to come to the defense of someone she feels is being unfairly judged, and she has frequently called people out when they’ve been judgmental.  She also looks at the people in her life without noticing color, culture or sexual orientation.  I am incredibly proud of her for that.  It’s one of my favorite things about her.  People are proud of their kids for all kinds of things, as they should be. I am proud of my kids’ accomplishments and talents as well, but the pride I can have for good character in my children is far more important to me than grades or sports scores.  They will take good character and loving hearts with them through life, even as they leave school, grades and sports behind.  So far, my corgi and my chihuahua are off to a good start.

The fact is that we are all judgmental sometimes.  It’s just part of being human.  We are constantly judging other people’s choices and situations, not necessarily in a negative way, but more in a comparison of how we would handle the same situation or make the same choice.  It’s hard to judge someone’s situation without judging the people involved.  However, I think the world would be a better place if we could look at other people as doing the best they can in the situation they’re in.  If we could all just look at people as human beings…not their color, sexual preference, culture, clothing, tattoos, piercings, attractiveness, weight or intelligence…we could all live a little happier.

The corgis and chihuahuas of this world make no judgments and love unconditionally.  I will keep my judgments to myself regarding the pitbull.  I would prefer to be a golden retriever.

New Year’s Resolution

Anyone can make a New Year’s Resolution on January 1st.  I usually make some sort of half assed resolution that I forget about in a matter of days, if not hours.  I’m pretty sure the reason is that most resolutions are about self-deprivation, and who likes to deprive themselves of things they enjoy?  I’d like to lose weight, but that would mean depriving myself of chocolate chip cookies, french toast, and candy.  There are those annoyingly self-disciplined people who say, “You don’t have to deprive yourself of cookies, just eat one or two.”  What those perfect people don’t get is that I’m not satisfied with chocolate chip cookies until I’ve eaten 1/4 of the cookie dough before the first batch has come out of the oven, and that I MUST test a cookie from each batch to make sure it passes quality control.  Once all the cookies are baked, I need to have at least 3 with my cup of tea.  See how that works?  Satisfaction comes after about a dozen cookies.  So, the hell with that resolution.

This year, I decided to change tactics and come up with some resolutions that I could enjoy, but that would still be self improvement.  They include learning to knit, learning to create and interpret astrological birth charts, and to start doing more active things such as hiking.  My first resolution, and a long time goal of mine, was to start writing a blog.  Many people have been encouraging me to write.  I like to write, but it’s not an easy thing to put yourself out there by expressing your opinions and ideas.  People will disagree with me, some will take offense, some will take it personally, and hopefully some will relate and enjoy.  I’ve had a million ideas for blog posts running through my head.  Being the disorganized person that I am, I haven’t written down a single idea.  However, I think someone, somewhere, said something like, “You can’t get down the road unless you take the first step.”  Or something kind of like that.  So, this is the first step.

This blog doesn’t really have a theme.  Mostly, it will be based on my thoughts and observations of every day situations.   If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy!