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Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Dear Friends

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I don't recall my parents ever going into a panic because school was out and they had to entertain me. Come to think of it, did any parents in that generation 'entertain' their kids?! Nonetheless, I don't seem to recall many bouts of boredom. Somehow, I managed to find things to do without a pony, an inflatable bounce house, or anything requiring a microchip. So why do we parents so often feel the need to be entertainment directors? And since when is 'boredom' a bad thing? Now I'm not condoning letting our kids fend for themselves all day long, but this summer, I'm hoping we parents and grandparents can all just chill a little and not fret so much about the details of what our children are going to do with their free time. It's summer vacation -- not a NASA mission! Let's take some of the pressure off ourselves and give our children some credit for using their imaginations. Better yet, let's help them to cultivate it by letting them figure out some of the details themselves! Something recently happened at our summer photo shoot that serves as a perfect example of this. We had three children for models, and their parents were a little nervous because the children had never met and were supposed to play together and look like they were having the time of their lives with some fairy wands -- items the adults had no clue what to 'do' with. Even the photographer asked, 'What will the kids do with these?' I told him I wanted to leave that up to the children. When they arrived, each child chose a wand, and with all of us adults hovering in eager anticipation, they stood in a row like brave little soldiers in front of the photographer. With forced smiles and stiffly held wands, the line-up looked like something from Fort Bragg, as in 'Yes, SIR! Reporting for duty, SIR!' Now I was nervous. One wise mom suggested we walk away and start talking amongst ourselves. Within minutes after the children were left to their own devices, they forgot about us and the photographer, and soon, irresistible peals of laughter began filling the studio. Out of the corner of our eyes, we saw more joyous movement than a passel of puppies with chew toys. The photographer laughingly said it was like photographing chaos. Two of the children actually began to cry when it was over. One of them (my grandson!) still asks his mom if he can play with the girls at the photography studio again. That is the magic that can be found in stepping out of the way and allowing children spontaneous play with open-ended toys. Yes, we adults were close by and available, but we weren't hovering and orchestrating their every move. Perhaps the ingredients for a really good summer might be to provide our children with playmates from time to time and let them figure out the rest. Give them a few well-chosen toys (cardboard boxes count!), plenty of outdoor time, lots of love, and knock off all the worrying about getting it 'right' as parents. Let's give ourselves permission this summer to forget the bounce houses, microchips, and ponies and r-e-l-a-x -- because isn’t that what summertime is really about?




Other Issues:
From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

Holiday 2008

Fall 2008

Late Summer 2008

Midsummer 2008

Early Summer 2008

Late Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Early Spring 2008

Winter 2007

Holiday 2007

Fall 2007

Late Summer 2007

Midsummer 2007

Early Summer 2007

Late Spring 2007

Spring 2007

Early Spring 2007

Winter 2006

Holiday 2006

Fall 2006

Late Summer 2006

Midsummer 2006

Early Summer 2006

Late Spring 2006

Spring 2006

Early Spring 2006




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