Danger Monkey, age 9: “Hey Dad!”
Me: “Whats up, son?”
DM: “You won’t believe it! We found a place in the woods that’s super soggy like a swamp. And it’s covered in these huge briars that scrape your skin really bad. And you have to crawl on your belly in the mud just to get through.”
Me: “Then why are you crawling through it?”
DM: “It’s our new clubhouse! It’s PERFECT!” (runs off)
I don’t usually buy into the ego trap of complaining about “kids these days,” but I do think it’s a tangible loss that kids just don’t play outside as much anymore. School is great and, sure, lessons and play dates and indoor games are all good. But there is no replacement for the long hours of completely un-structured play I got to enjoy as a child. Kids are designed to get dirty and run and fall and get hurt and get scabs on your knees and stung by things and poison ivy and climb things and explore and make up games and stretch their legs and minds.
The Wonderful Wife: “Hey kids, what did you play when you were outside today?”
Little Miss Thing, age 4: “House.”
Danger Monkey, age 7: “Gravel.”
OK, I’m not totally sure what he meant, but I really love my family discussions.