Here is the latest “Past Deadline,” published in The Perth Courier on Jan. 10/13.
As I write this, we are about a week into the new year and I feel inclined to provide an update on how those fantastic New Year’s “Revolutions” are working out.
Or not working out, as the case may be.
I decided to do this in part because it is snowing again. See, last week I wrote about snow and how much I like it in the winter. One of the brilliant gems I uttered was this: “Another reason I prefer snow is because it’s easier to get the kids outside. It has been awesome lately for fort building – those chunks of snow make great blocks.”
It all sounds very good, and the theory is solid, but the practice is proving to be, well, let’s just say my kids rarely decide on their own to just go outside – they usually have to be told. This is especially true for the oldest one, who sometimes needs to be pried away from the computer. (To her credit, Girlchild recently built a beautiful snow girl and snow dog who gaze happily at me when I am at the kitchen window.)
On a bright sunny day near the end of the Christmas break, I herded the youngsters outside by suggesting we build a snow mountain in the back yard that they could slide down. This led to a second snow pile that Girlchild used to make a fort. Suddenly the magic and versatility of snow was revealed and they spent two hours outside. You’d think they’d been living in Florida for the last decade.
I saw something on the Interwebs recently – can’t remember where – that said: “When I was a kid I only had one toy. It was called ‘outside.’”
So true. This is such a lost generation. It is up to us to teach our children “the Old Ways,” and that means opening the back door and gesturing broadly to the back yard. “Look, little ones! Grass! Trees! Flowers! Birds! Fresh air! Take these sticks and build something! Take this broom and pretend it is a horse and ride it! Stare at the clouds! Climb a tree! Make a mud pie! Ride a bike!”
I know I have no one to blame but myself for letting it come to this, although I also know I am not alone. Many parents are tackling the “nature deficit.”
That all said, I am inclined to add an addendum to my resolutions: “Get the kids outside!” My goal is for them to want to choose to go outside – not for it to be a chore that Mommy makes them do. And maybe that means unplugging a few screens around the house and meaning business about it.
Wish me luck.
As for the rest of the “revolutions,” my progress on that front has been…well…poor. I am going to blame the holidays because, as I write this, the kids are still off and routines are disrupted. Our sleep patterns are weird and we are still confronted with a variety of Christmas goodies lying around. It would be a crime to waste them.
Still…my pants are shrinking. I have to do something about this because a new wardrobe will break the budget. By the time you read this, I hope I will have done some form of decent exercise every day this week – something other than shovelling.
Also, here’s another addendum that was glaringly omitted from the list: “Eat less.” Seriously. Get a grip, woman! The number on the scale is startling!
The remaining resolution was “Don’t freak out in the face of change, conflict or difficulty.” Perhaps I should amend that to add: “but DO freak out about not going outside, not exercising and not eating less.”
Okay, everyone! Let’s go make a snow fort!