I don’t understand the concept that children need to be entertained.
We live in a tourist area, and many residents seem to feel that we need to have attractions for children. They need to be entertained or they have nothing to do and become bored.
At a very early age, my children picked up on the concept that they should never give me the impression that they were bored. One of the parents will be more than willing to find something for them to do that was not high on their activities list.
I never had to entertain them. Family vacations, for the most part, were spent in camping grounds or at the beach, not at water parks.
By the time we took a trip to Disney World, the children were well into their teens.
That was done because we had promised them we would go as soon as it opened. It was being developed when we lived in Florida, and we moved to New Jersey just before it opened.
To be fair, they grew up in the days when kids could go outside and meet up with others and work out what they would do all day.
A ball game would be organized, or they would all get out roller skates, or just ride bikes.
Yes, they did have Little League, but not every activity was planned or organized for them.
I have watched my grandchildren growing up with everything organized for them, and more lessons and activities than you can count. It’s not bad, just different.
Because so many kids are in one-parent situations or both parents are working, things are not the same now.
Many summer activities were done together.
If a kid was having his or her bedroom painted, we did not hire a painter. The kid would work alongside me.
I was not looking for child labor; I felt it was important that the kids understood what went into the project.
They learned to spackle the holes they had made in the wall or worked on the removal of tape.
It’s funny how they treated the room much better after that.
And by the time the project was completed, they had learned how to paint a room.
A bicycle was not dropped off at the repair shop. The skills were learned at their father’s side. This was not a girl or boy thing – they all learned the same stuff.
They did have their lessons. The kid who took flute still plays, and the kid who took dancing lessons honed her skills of coordination. Poor thing couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time, but went on to be a varsity basketball player.
Each child had to be able to change the oil and a tire before they got their driver’s license.
And yes, my son can do more than just sew on a button.
I think that part of my idea of raising kids was not to entertain them but to prepare them with the skills necessary to handle life.
Margaret Griffin has lived in Sun City Hilton Head for 17 years.