“Give the Gift of a Tacklebox, Skip the Xbox”
This note on Facebook really caught my eye as we think about summer.
Children. Adolescents. The thought of them raises strong feelings:
Fear -something bad could happen to our little ones;
Love -they are the apple of our eye;
Frustration -if only they could learn from our mistakes; and
Weariness -will they ever go to sleep?!
Yet, we become mama and papa bear if our children are threatened. In today’s world, the influences that are beyond our control are bigger and more powerful than ever. Look around, kids are “plugged in” all the time.
Now summer is upon us and school is out. That means more kids are on the streets, and there is more time on the phone, watching TV or on the computer. Is it any wonder we have children who
· don’t want to get off the couch,
· struggle with mood and energy,
· have difficulties socially, and
· use food, drugs, alcohol, video games etc. to help them feel better.….?
Strong neighborhood attachments have been shown to help decrease the chance of drug/alcohol use in children. That means all of us can help each of us—especially the young ones-- through very simple but caring interactions.
· Talk to the neighborhood kids and listen to what they have to say;
· Say hello when they walk the dog;
· Express appreciation when they have lots of energy to play together and practice their skills;
A local school teacher makes a point of greeting the young grocery baggers at the grocery store. An older couple befriends the neighborhood kids with smiles and friendly questions. One neighborhood parent provides the treats while the other parent spots kids on the trampoline.
You can spend time with your grandchildren/niece/nephew/neighbor by playing cards, getting to know their friends, putting together a puzzle, or playing catch. Let’s help our children experience the fun of making snowmen, ice skating, kayaking, swimming, going to church as a family, bike riding and, yes, fishing. Given how important this is, I, for one, am going to try hard to do more of this.