Summer boredom, creativity and kids…

June 23, 2010

I am thinking of this today because of my own lack of silence and a need to turn off the noise and busyness, with not much knowledge about how to do that. I was thinking about summers when I was a kid.
There is an old saying about the lazy, hazy days of summer, and for all practical purposes those are gone. Now in their place are plans, lessons, travel, summer homework, television, video games, computer hours.

The fallout from all these options of things that capture the mind and attention, is the loss of something wonderful.
Maybe some of you are old enough to remember when adults were unconcerned about what we wanted to do, and had little or no guilt about just letting us be kids. no thoughts of enrichment, furthering our educational goals, and the outcome was creativity.

We got bored. Seriously bored. I would sit with neighbor kids under the shade of the willow tree in the backyard, just laying in the grass. “Whadda ya wanna do?”" I dunno, whadda you wanna do?”

Then would come the listing…we could, ride bikes “nah, too hot”, we could color, nah, wanna play army? ( this would mean the sandbox, getting out all the army men and some trucks, using pieces of wood to build walls and bricks to make a higher lookout point etc.. or getting broomsticks for rifles and chasing each other around.) Maybe we would then decide maybe we wanted to have ice cream, because the silence allowed us to hear the ice cream truck a few blocks away. After being refused money for ice cream by our parents, we thought maybe a lemonade stand would let us have ice cream tomorrow…yeah! “I’ll make the sign, you got crayons?” then we would go house to house to find the stuff we needed, a table, water, lemonade mix or real lemons…then we would not have the adults make the lemonade, we did it, we came up with a new recipe…sometimes sale-able , sometimes not.

Boredom + dreaming = creativity. This is true of children and adults. We go at breakneck speed thinking that we have to get this and that done…or we schedule every waking moment for our kids and then wonder why they don’t know how to play.

I have not been very creative lately, I’ve had too much to do. Can we stop and take some time to sit beneath a tree, dangle our toes in the water, hear the crickets at night, watch fireflies, listen to a robins song from her nest…and what if we get bored…will we think of something wonderful, or fill the time with pre-packaged games and lose that gift?

Maybe you could give a gift to yourself and your kids today. Tell them no Tv, or anything electronic. No lessons today, just a day to “be” . They will groan, and whine, but hold your ground. Just lay around and let it happen. I think if you give them several of these days this summer, they will find, and so will you, that the mind and heart become engaged in life again, and who knows what you will do!

Ft. Carson: We Serve Too!, Tradition, and Homecoming!

June 6, 2010

This weekend Paula and I had the privilege to go to Ft. Carson and donate 500 books to the little ones. We read our stories, asked some questions and got some wonderful hugs! Here are a couple of the people that helped us do that, friends from the West Childcare Development Center on Ft. Carson, as they assemble the books with dogtags to pass out to the children there

After the passing out of the books , we heard of a tradition there are Ft. Carson that we had never heard of before. We were told that if we came back to the post late at night, 300 or more soldiers were coming home from Afghanistan! The tradition is, that as the busloads of soldiers come in the gates, the firetrucks, lights flashing , horns blowing, drench the buses with water, symbolizing the washing off of the dirt of foreign soil and welcoming them back home.

Because this particular homecoming was happening inthe middle of the night, families anxiously awaited their arrival at the event center about a half mile from the gate’s roundabout. The only ones to witness the firetrucks and that part of the celebration, were one little boy and his mother, and these two grandmas!

As we joined the families of our brave service-members, we were struck with the beauty of the welcome. Prayer, the Army song, a reverence for the completed mission and thanks to the families who had endured or lost. Then a joyous reunion of smiles, snapshots, laughter, hugging and tears. What a privilege to be there.

As we left I thanked a young soldier and asked if he would mind if I gave him a hug. I had never gotten to see the homecoming of my own boy, twice from Iraq. He obliged me.

Welcome home each and every one. Thank you, from all of us, for the work you do and have done. May God bless and keep you, and your families!