My 10 & 8 year old sons are indoors too much.

How much SPF is too much…Suppressive Parenting Functions

Let me be clear. I don’t know how to parent, and I am sure my wife and kids already know that. When they were small, I looked out for the sharp corners and have a highlight reel of pillow tosses to intercept a falling head or bum on our hardwood floors. I was toy unpackager, pillow castle builder and train track engineer. They were my babies and I was their Papa. My iphone was snotted up and full of every new discovery or experience the kids encountered. It was fun.

One day, they stopped calling me Papa and started calling me Dad. I think it was the same day that Thomas the Train become a childhood artifact and Hot Wheels cars became Hot. I adapted and evolved. You want the race track to go down the steps with a launch ramp? And you want me to record it so you can watch it over and over and over? Anything for you kids.

One day my son asked my wife where he could find the “old” iPad. A short time later I was buying pixelated pick axes and getting notifications to join a clan on my “new” iPad. At least the snots were gone.

My sons are 10 & 8. When I was 9 and my brother 10, he and I shined shoes in bars in Chicago. I walked 5 blocks to 7–11 to watch my brother set high scores on Spy Hunter, traded baseball cards with the Arabian brothers across the street and rode my bike EVERYWHERE. Alone. No supervision. What have I become?

I’m not going there. Nope. I refuse to look at my childhood as a time of glory or even compare it to my kids. Digital impacts families too, so why shouldn’t their childhood be different? But I do feel suppresive.

My wife and I agreed that this is the year my kids will walk home from school. With each other, but unsupervised (save my wife parked along the route incognito; they spotted her). What is MY problem?

I’m uncertain and unsure. But worse yet, I feel I’m tuned out. I know too much about what is going on in Syria, the Ukraine and the Chicago Bears front office. So much access to info, I am Max Headroom. I don’t want that.

Here is what I am doing about it:

Simplify. I love Haiku because it strips away the superfluos for the sake of understanding. My kids bounce around the house and make a mess, but they know the rules:

Obey, Play and Pray. That’s it. I call it the Universal Law of Being My Kid, although it may only work in my zip code.

Simple Math. I have sons, and darn it, my sons are gonna be superheroes. Currently, my boys are undergoing Superhero training…err #superherotraining:

Strong + Smart + Spiritual = Superhero (the goal)

Strong + Smart - Spritual = Villain (not the goal)

I build little missions and activities around the 3 S’s that they can aquire credit for, all leading up to the “Greatest Box of Fun Ever”. The GBOFE is yet to be determined, but they don’t need to know that. All they know is its the GBOFE!! and if they get enough credits, they earned it. Credits are displayed on a 3-fold science-fair poster board.

What do I know? I do not know where this leads, but I’m beginning to realize that my kids going outside is not the issue, its me getting to their inside that matters.

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