Love and Tolerance is My Code, Now Get Outside

I love lazy Sundays. And this past Sunday was just that. Time to enjoy family, hang out around the house and cook. My wife wanted to finish the Christmas decorations, and it was the last of a four-day stretch of a wonderful Thanksgiving break.

There was plenty of downtime, and I’m not sure if it’s conditioning or personality, but when my four-year old son has downtime it can mean trouble. Plants hacked, couches demolished, toys strewn everywhere. It’s bound to happen.

This period of downtime involved endless loops of running through the circular track that is our dining room, family room and kitchen while singing a high-pitched five syllable song.

My wife entered from the kitchen, while I was in the dining room, and asked him why her mailed gift marked fragile was laying upside-down on the floor. This was it, and I hollered, “get outside,” to my son. The famous two words every young child has heard at one time or another.

But my son is only four. He started crying, either in self preservation or in confusion of why he had to get outside. After all, he was just doing what young boys do:  run around and burn off energy.

If love and tolerance is my code, then it is in these times of being fed up with not having enough peace and “me time” that I lose all understanding.

As my wife maturely points out, “he’s only four and needs something to focus on.”

It’s good for kids to have free time to be creative, dream and explore. But they also need a framework for this time. I can’t approve if their creativity is cutting up toy ropes and jumping off the back of couches.

But the amazing this is, that when he is given activities he will focus on them for 20 minutes or so. One particular project involved paper, tape and a scissor. He made “wallets” after I explained the particular trend of making art with duct tape.

The wallets project lasted close to an hour, and I saw pride developing with his ability to cut and wrap the paper with tape.

As a father, I have allow this creativity while providing a framework. Otherwise we end up with complete “creativity” that involves whipping pillows or running circles around the house driving my wife and I crazy.

This understanding can give me the framework to love in either situation. I get caught up in life and don’t always provide the direction for a focus activity.

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