Do you watch or play?


Did your mom watch you play in the wet sand or did she get down and play with you? How about you now? Do you watch your kids play in the wet sand or do you play with them in the wet sand?

This past week, after I took a few pictures on the beach just like this one, my daughters asked me walk further out with them towards the whitewash. The two girls took turns attempting to body surf. For every wave each girl jumped into, the same girl would ask about their performance on the wave. They weren’t satisfied that I walked out with them to the shorebreak. They wanted me to submerge myself under each wave that crumbled over us. I took note of that because my kids aren’t little preschoolers. They are preteens, yet they wanted the same kind of engagement and acknowledgement as they did years ago.

I agree with the writer, George Bernard Shaw who was quoted, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” and Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” I don’t want to forget how to play. Do you?

Recycle your childhood memories

“Innocence is the very essence of childhood and pure, unfiltered freedom is its reward. Joyful screams mixed with laughter are the evidence leaving us with snapshots of hope and promise.”

Recycle those fond memories from childhood with your children. It is tempting to just sit in the beach chair and Instagram away under the umbrella the whole time while the kids play, but the memory-making moment is in the interaction.

Are you pulling the seaweed onto the shore for the kids to play with it? Are you joining in the hunt for the rarest sea shell? Are you filling the buckets with ocean water to fill in the holes the kids are digging? Are you digging the holes with them?

The new memories your children make don’t have to be carbon copies of your own (who remembers carbon copies?) but you can facilitate the new ones because of your experience.

Just some thoughts for the weekend. Enjoy yours and make some memories.

Library Time

I drove around L.A. with the kids the other day while my wife had an appointment. I really wanted to explore this part of the city and hoping to find a cool coffee shop (without the help of my phone.) So I was on this discover Los Angeles theme with my girls, but that lasted 15 minutes before we passed a library. There was no debate at that moment when I asked my twins, “Do you want to go in?”

What can match the experience of an old neighborhood library? We walked past a busy room with a handful of friendly senior citizens inviting us in to browse through used books to buy. The girls declined and headed straight to the children’s fiction section on a mission to find a book. I had to modify their mission and told them that this library wasn’t “our” library, and they wouldn’t be able to use their library cards to borrow books. They were unreasonably disappointed but understandably so.

As we looked through the picture book section for classic and new titles, I couldn’t help resist reminiscing about my much younger days in the library. I remember the similar scents of printed books and the sounds of books being shuffled and hushed conversations. One of the newer sounds I recognized that didn’t exist in the library when I was a kid were beeps of barcodes being scanned, and keyboard taps on laptops of students studying. Do you remember the due date stamped inside the cover of the library book to remind you when it would need to be returned? I loved that part!

My children got Kindles for Christmas to read eBooks, but they know that nothing replaces a good ol’ printed book and nothing replaces being in a local library. 

Are there any  other “universal” childhood experiences and activities that still exist today? Have you brought your child to that place or introduced them to that experience?

  • Take them to the skating rink and rent roller skates. 
  • Find a used record store and show them your favorite album covers. 
  • Play Scrabble or buy your favorite board game and play it on game night. If you don’t have a game night, then make one. 
  • Rent the original classic movies of the remakes your kids watch now. 

Just some ideas to get you going. Your kids are interested in your childhood. Get going! Make it a great week!

The Essence of Childhood

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The Essence of Childhood

Innocence is the very essence of childhood and pure, unfiltered freedom is its reward. Joyful screams mixed with laughter are the evidence leaving us with snapshots of hope and promise.

See the rest on Backspaces.