Sunday, May 16, 2010

There Is a Cure For The Summertime MOOOS

   Attention, attention, calling all is now time to report for active duty. It is that time of year where you add to your enormous list of 'have to do's' to include entertainment director for your family platoon. The details of your tour of duty should be gelling right about now. In a few days you will be known as 'MOOOS'...Mothers Of Out Of Schoolers.

   That means you play when you don't want to play. Uncontrollable messes are made and remain permanent until the second week of August. Bedtime and waking up time switch places. And you'll spend a huge amount of effort to keep the 'B' word from being spoken, yes, I mean the word 'bored'.

   The word 'bored' is not allowed to be used at my house. It is considered to be a bad word, right up there with 'shut-up' and 'stupid' (oh, and the word 'butt', it's not used either, we use other words for that, bohunkus, la-tushay, and fahanny are examples). All of this because they are not fruitful words and do not achieve positive results. (My O.)

   When the kids declare boredom they are clearly saying to me that they do not have enough stuff to keep them engaged or that, that stuff has clearly lost its appeal and the need for more stuff is necessary to grant their happiness wish. Or that they have lost their imagination and creativity abilities along with their tidiness skills. Or that they are totally uncomfortable with being by themselves and quite. So they try to convince me that extra people of all kinds are needed to fill their seconds of torturous inactivity, therefore we begin a summer-long parade of a variety of friends and sleepover company in and out of our entertainment caravan.

   Granted, we do not live in a residential area where you can just go outside and meet in the street and play all day with the homies on the block, like me and my sister did in the day. In the summer, we had a babysitter which would greet me with a chocolate milkshake in the noon when I awoke and encouraged me to go out to play. Which for us, there was no need for encouragement, we were ready, willing and fully able to cooperate with her requests. I know now it was so she could chill on the inside and watch TV and talk on the phone while we stayed out of her hair. But, nonetheless, we had a wonderful understanding of what was expected of each other and that was don't mess with each other's groove.

   My sister and I had a WONDERFUL childhood, not filled with stuff and things and outings, our parents worked all of our summers. But it was with our ability to make something out of nothing. Whether it was making Barbie furniture from cardboard and crayons and her clothes from scraps of fabric to tying the Barbie car to the back of our bikes (which had playing cards clothes-pinned to the spokes of our wheels) and driving Barbie and Ken all over the neighborhood. To impromptu fashion shows on the front porch of a friend to a game of red rover in front of the sweet gum tree where it and my head collided. To jumping from the back porch onto the swing set for circus like acrobatics. And I swear that we were the inventors of the extreme sport of skim boarding...when our neighbors across the streets' backyard would flood from rain we would get plywood pieces and run and jump on them and skim across the water for several yards. When I am at the beach I keep wanting to show kids how it's done! Bored was NOT part of our vocabulary!

   All of the things we busied ourselves with back then, formed who we are today...very creative, active, and out-of-the-box thinkers. Our parents never 'played' with us, we had each other for that. We depended on each other to draw that part of us out and didn't look to MOOOS to do it for us. I have a very dear friend that produces powerful performances today because her mother would make her have quite time in her room for an hour every day. That's where she learned to put storylines together and use her imagination for shows. My sister and I created a play that we would perform in our living room by ourselves at Christmas with no parents even around to watch it. It was about an orphan girl and an angel that helped her to discover the real concept of Christmas. I have since adapted it for the stage and used the soundtrack from Swan Lake and it has been performed two times on stage. I have been working on it on a grander scale to make it a full two hour production that I hope to see come into fruition one day. All because of 2 sisters imagination and playtime together.

   So to all of you MOOOS, my encouragement to you would be to take the initiative and introduce your OOS (out of schooler) to the wonderful world of imagination and creativity. We are made in God's image so we already have the inner workings of that kind of ability accessible to us. It may take some discipline at first and you may feel like you are inadequately equipped, but if you persist and push for ways to silence the bored siren, eventually you will be amazed at the inventive ideas your kids can come up with. All you will have to do is nourish (encourage) them and guide (educate) them. How easy is that? Then you'll have this focused idea- pumping-self-sustaining kid instead of a zoned-out-and-needy one that has to have technology and activities to do it for them.

   The results that you will reap from this summer experiment will make everyone happy. No frazzled moms from trying to brush up on their roller skating or kickball skills and no all day trips to water theme parks, and no whining children because mom is too french-fried to keep moving on autopilot. You won't have to keep the family books full of entertainment appointments.What we're talking here is free, it just takes some enterprising. Get your kids to list some basic starter ideas and go with those (babysitting grandmothers are included, GOOOS) and watch the sparks of something from nothing start flying! I would definitely say that is an awesome cure for the summertime MOOOS!

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