I love it when I find unexpected surprises. I love perspective. When I can see the future and how the now plays into that. When a new perspective changes my outlook.
As a parent, I'm alwaysusually trying to do the best for my kids so that they grow up to be fulfilled, happy, productive adults. I want to encourage them to find their niche, to pursue their passions, to develop their talents. Sometimes talents are obvious - sports, musical ability, school, stuff like that. Its just not always obvious. (Keep looking - and pointing it out, parents. You child needs you to help them see the good in them.) While we all wish that our kids are smart and great students, that's really not the end all of success. Sometimes, having a hard time in school teaches a kid how to work hard. Regardless, every child has something that interests them, something they are good at, passions and dreams.
Recently we took a tour of a local radio station. It actually is the home to several radio stations in our area. Country, rock, oldies, news, AM, they cover a lot of bases there. The tour was for my 8 yr old's Cub Scout pack/den, but I took all the kids. No sense standing outside.
Stunt Monkey (No, I did not make that name up, it's actually his nickname. He never even told us his real name. But how convenient for my blog. lol) graciously gave us a tour of the studio, showed the kids the buttons, microphone, how the computer screens work to play songs and commercials, told us about the towers, asked questions of the boys and did his best to engage them. He did a great job, though I think the vocabulary of words like signal, broadcast, "on-air" and satellite are just difficult things for 8 year olds to conceptualize. At least not without a lot more visual diagramming and demonstration. Shy first and second grade boys can be a tough audience.
Since I was also bringing my younger kids, and my 3 yr old has been asking questions about radio lately ("Mommy, play that song again." "I can't. It's on the radio." "So play it again."), I tried to explain how radios work a little before hand, in very simple terms, while sitting in the parking lot.
They didn't get it then, either. So don't feel bad, Stunt Monkey.
But... when the tour was done and we were back out in the car, I put on one of the radio stations and said, "This is coming from inside there. They are playing this song/cd inside that building." Oh, light bulbs went off then and my kids were stoked. A couple of them, anyway.
While that's all interesting, it's not really what this is about. See, during our tour when showing us "the board", Stunt Monkey told us about how when he was a kid he used to play "radio" in his basement, giving interviews, playing songs and announcing stuff. Even just telling us about that, he was excited, and you could see his eyes light up with remembering.
Cue my light bulb moment.
Because, see, he was playing. Playing. As a child. And now, an adult, he's still playing. Only now he gets paid for it. It was his passion, his interest as a child, that led into something that he does as an adult. For a living. And I'm guessing he enjoys it, that it makes him happy. While I don't know if radio is something his parent's encouraged for him, he found it. But kids don't always see that stuff for themselves, so we should help point it out. I want them to see success in themselves. If that happens for my kids, I'll call that successful parenting.
I want that for my kids. Even if building light sabers out of lots of duct tape and toilet paper rolls doesn't end up being George's career, building and creating just might. And while it's easy for me to get irritated by how much tape he goes through or how it's all over the house, this "playing" is not pointless or unimportant. Though he may struggle through math facts, it doesn't mean he's not smart, or not going to be successful. I have tried to notice, look for, point out things like these in each of my kids. I want them to know they're good at something, that they have skills and talents, and that grades and tests aren't the only measure of a person's abilities, even when your grades are good. Sometimes it's harder to see and takes more effort on my part. Pointing out things my kids are good at always makes them feel good. That's important to every kid. And adult.
What good can you point out in those around you today?
**Oh, and Stunt Monkey, if you ever read this, my son (the one one wearing his scout shirt) would LOVE one of those Minnesota 93 Party Cups. Red Solo Cup is his favorite song. It's the little things that make a kid's day. :D
I know kids say the darnedest things. Everyone's got their own stories of funny / endearing / embarrassing things their kids have said. But what won't kids ask? I'm sure some neighbor kids must think I fell off a turnip truck recently as they send my youngers home asking for some of the darnedest things. Certainly kids ask for things that they don't understand the value of. Ever had your kid ask you for a laptop? a gaming system? a cell phone? Or every doggone thing they see in Walmart from sugar cereal to new bikes to the crap they sell in the checkout? Yeah, me neither. *cough* Those are kind of expected, though. But lately, I've had some pretty interesting requests.
Mom, can I have a bucket of water to take to the park? (Uh, it's 45 degrees outside and you want to make mud (my arch enemy) so no, probably not.)
Mom, can I have a shovel? (With which you can chop off a toe, whack someone in the head requiring stitches or dig a hole in my preciously tended and failing grass? Sorry. Not today.)