I have to preface that I’m from a generation that started with Atari and progressed through Commodore 64 to Nintendo to Sega and so on and so forth. I remember a time when my dad came home late from a bar and was in trouble for nothing more than spending his time on that new fangled Pac-Man arcade machine. I grew up before the age of the internet and “gamers,” but just barely. You could say we’re the Mario Brothers generation.
I must also admit that we parents use all the modern tools at our disposal to educate and entertain our kids. The iPad teaches math and reading and writing when we’re driving down the road. We allow smart phone and hand held video games to keep the kids in check while we’re having adult conversations. The way I see it, if our kids want to be a pilot or a surgeon or a teacher or a dentist, they’ll lean on technology even more than we currently do. Like it or not, that’s just the way we’re headed.
All things in moderation, though.
So there we were on a beautiful Saturday morning. Soccer was over by 9:30 and we had hours to burn before our next event, a birthday party at 4:00. I was determined that the day would be spent outdoors and away from TVs, DVDs, or any computerized device. It’s been 106 degrees for two months and I wanted to enjoy a cool morning. Thirty minutes in, the kids had exhausted their supply of outside toys and were looking for something new, so we put our boots on and headed down to the barn.
After doling out a few horse and pony treats, we began to explore. Parker began wielding a piece of PVC as a sword and Peyton countered with a one by two dagger. Dad had to intervene and come up with something before someone got hurt.
So Dad got out the chop saw…
The kids had a great time rummaging through the barn for anything we could cut into blocks. We made some PVC cylinders, wood squares, cedar rectangles, and cut angled pieces to make all sorts of odd shapes. All the while keeping fingers clear and not a piece long enough to wield as a weapon.
For the next few hours, I watched my kids have good old fashion fun. They drew chalk rivers on the driveway with islands and moats, and made castles galore. There were princesses and knights fighting little green army men riding dinosaurs. Fairies rode in on plastic snakes to protect from monster trucks driven by Lego figurines. When it was all said and done, our yard looked like a lumber truck had collided with a Toys-RUs delivery.
Somehow, we managed to use up the whole day with nary a video game or movie or cartoon in sight. Just us and our imaginations.
So that’s how it used to be.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.