Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Joy of Big Family Games

“So what are some of the challenges of having a big family?” the woman on the other end of the phone was asking me. I was surprised that what flooded my mind was the good things about big family life. I stammered around and finally said, “Shoes. They are everywhere.”

Lame. I know.

But it made me wonder what the kids would say about what they did not like about big family life, so the next morning I asked them. They, too, had a similar response and started talking about the good stuff. Every one of them said the same thing for the best thing about having a big family.

So what is the best thing about big family life?

Playing games.

When I probed a little further, what I discovered was that it was not just being able to play any game, but games that require multiple kids – ball freeze tag, four square, dodge ball, soccer, and knockout. These are the types of games that many kids only get to play at recess but big family kids can play all night long.

So, when you are thinking about whether or not to adopt a child (or another child), just remember that the joy of big family games may just be a child away.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Downer of Having a Downsizing Dad

“Dad! I want to buy these walkie-talkies!” K.D. said excitedly as we walked by a display in our local Home Depot.

“Do you have enough money to buy them?” I asked, hoping that he would not.

“Yes! And I want to buy these,” he said as he longingly looked over the slick packaging. Little Foot was also taken in and started lobbying for K.D. to be able to buy them.

“But I don’t want any more stuff. We are trying to get to Africa and we need to be getting rid of stuff, not buying stuff,” I said with a hint of frustration over the prospect of buying something that was not biodegradable and a hint of guilt about being such a downer of a dad.

“But Dad! F.G. won’t let us play with hers and you won’t let us play with the ones you have,” they started complaining as if playing with walkie-talkies was an inalienable right put forth in our constitution.

Then the idea hit me.

“I’ll tell you what. I will let you boys buy walkie-talkies if you can fill two laundry baskets full of stuff you are willing to get rid of.”

The deal was on. When we got home, they scurried off to their room with the two laundry baskets I gave them. When the baskets were full, I sat down to order a pair online when I had another thought. Why do I want another pair of walkie-talkies in my house?

“Hey K.D.,” I said. “I’ll sell you my walkie-talkies.”

Now, I know that you are thinking I am a bad father. After all, I charged two laundry baskets full of stuff for the right to pay me money for some used walkie-talkies. Maybe you are right, but please don’t tell my kids that this is not how the real world works. Anna is so excited about the program that she filled a laundry basket full of stuff to get rid of and she doesn’t even know what she wants to buy yet.