Just The Notes

Parenting Note #748: Let Me Entertain You

Parenting Note #748

A friend and I joke about pointing out planes and animals.

His three kids range in age from 13 to 5. My kids are 11 and 8 years old. Except for the 5-year-old, none of the other kids give a Hershey’s squirt about planes or a bunch of cows in the middle of the field.

None of them would luck up from their phones or tablet quick enough to see the livestock or aircraft before the car passed and that’s assuming any of the kids listen when we talk.

This note reminds me of an old downstairs neighbor. She was an older woman, a grown daughter of her own, who took a liking to me and the kids. The kids would always stop to talk to her on her porch. Old people love any kids who’ll stop and talk.

I think her fondness for me stemmed from her being a single parent and during a time when that role came with a certain stigma.

The elderly neighbor and I sat and watched as the kids rode bikes in the complex parking lot. I asked the kids – a few times – what they wanted to do next, not realizing they were fine doing exactly what they doing at that moment.

After being ignored, my neighbor turned to me and said “you know, it’s not your job to entertain them all the time. They need to learn to do that on their own sometimes.”

I think about her advice every time I try to pack as many activities as possible in an hour, a day, or a weekend.

I need to stop pointing out all the cows and planes and realize they’ll find those things on their own.


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