“A lot of kids watch TV and play video games instead of playing outside. I think everyone should play outside everyday with friends.” by Jackson, age 8
This is how my son Jackson started his writing assignment at school. So what a nice surprise it was to see this on a Monday morning rolling out the door five minutes behind. Of course, I was just then cleaning out his backpack to start a fresh week of school (I mean why do it on Friday, Saturday or Sunday???) Came home to read the whole thing and SMILED!
A chip off the old block? Nah. This is a kid who listens to what is being said around him. He’s a sponge. They are all sponges, absorbing every last word they hear, the tones, the sincerity and more importantly, the consistency. I hate to admit this, but I have treated him a little like an experiment. A parenting experiment. I challenged myself that I could raise a child who wasn’t a victim of mass media and the changing culture. That if I intentionally protected him from unnecessary influences, that I (actually, we, dad is in this too) could raise a child that had a foundation based on our values, beliefs and priorities.
It’s been really interesting to see how well we have done. Of course the older he gets, the more outside influences will take over. But for now, as we approach 9, we have a well-mannered, thoughtful child who is definitely on a GoodLiving path. By GoodLiving path, I mean living a life that is talked about and promoted in the magazine. Since he was four, I have been writing articles and publishing a magazine that features elements of a “good” life: healthy bodies, healthy families and healthy communities.
This past September, we ran an article about the importance of unstructured free play time after attending a family play event sponsored by Disney Parks and Kaboom!. The goal of the event is to persuade parents to have play time with kids. Not dropping them off and reading a smart phone while you wait. Not taking them to a structured lesson or ball practice. Taking them in the yard or to a park and running around with no rules, no schedule and no expectations. Kids need it and so do parents! We’ve talked openly about the damaging effects caused by the reduction of recess and how in this modern suburban life we live, there are so few opportunities for kids to run free anymore.
I even read that kids are having trouble focusing in school because they aren’t turning upside down anymore. Apparently all the microscopic hairs in their ears need to be stimulated on a regular basis, and thanks to lawyers and lawsuits, playgrounds no longer have bars for hanging and gym floors no longer have mats for tumbling. So do a somersault with your kids. Get them upside down, around and every which way but loose. And laugh yourself silly. It will make you healthier and happier.
And for kicks, here is a transcript of the school paper written without any help, or even any discussion, with me. Way to go little acorn, way to go!!
Go Outside! by Jackson, age 8
A lot of kids watch TV and play video games instead of playing outside. I think everyone should play outside everyday with friends.
The first reason you should play outside instead of inside is that you can get lots of healthy exercise like running, walking and jumping. I play games that give me exercise. If you stay inside you’ll be weak, but if you go outside you’ll be strong and healthy just like me and my friends!
The second reason is that you can have so much fun because you can make up a game and play it and you won’t even notice any exercise. And you can ride a scooter and bike. Imagine having so much fun.
My third reason is that you’ll be very happy if you do it. Because you could lift a 50 lb weight. And you’ll be strong and healthy before you grow up so you don’t have to pay to go to a gym.
It is really important and happy and healthy for your body. I hope you go outside and play like me. So go outside and burn some energy!