A few nights ago, I watched America’s got Talent with the kids. There was an act, where a young guy balanced a series of cylinders one on top of the other and then climbed on top and balanced himself. We winced and watched out of one eye as he seemed to defy all odds. With white knuckles and baited breath we waited to see if he’d manage to stay on top of his wobbly cylinder tower…would he do it?
Bam. Down he toppled. Dream of a million dollar Vegas act dashed. Just like that.
Oh, I felt his pain. I felt it in my gut because I attempt a similar balancing act every day and have yet to successfully stand on top of my multitude of balancing cylinders without it all crashing down.
These are the cylinders I attempt to balance every day:
There is this feature that comes fitted in every family car. It’s on the back seat and only children can see it. It divides the back seat and comes with strict rules that must be adhered to at all times. It is known as The Invisible Line. If a child, accidentally even, crosses the The Invisible Line, it’s on, baby. We’re talking full-scale, all-out war.
If you have children – in fact if you ever were a child – this line, invisible as it may be, is real. It is not to be messed with. Ever. Read the rest of this entry
Look on the wall of any kindergarten classroom and you’ll find a list of rules like this:
From the minute they enter the school system, our kids are taught how to be good, play fair, be nice. It’s wonderful and delightful and, well, unrealistic.
I was the mother who mirrored those rules at home. I made damned sure my children said please and thank-you. I always facilitated sharing and turn-taking. We spoke about weapon-words and how to ask for things nicely and how snatching toys was bad. When my children started to fight with one another, I always jumped right in and mediated so they could learn that it’s not necessary to be mean. We did a lot of role-playing.
How very naive. Not to mention short-sighted.
“Why?”, you ask.
Today I decided in a crazy ‘carpe diem’ moment that I was going to surprise the kids after school by declaring war on homework, chores and responsibility and taking them to the beach to play and swim and make sandcastles and then get fish and chips for dinner.
Of course this was naive.
I’d like to report that we held hands, frolicked in the waves and sang “He aint heavy, he’s my brother”. But, no.