What does the perfect afternoon look like for you?
I try to put myself into other’s shoes to get a better perspective (and help them–especially if it’s my family). My son occasionally, ahem, “forgets” how good he has it, so I decided to go over just how awesome his afternoon was. I actually counted the points with him (as we biked to basketball practice–the best time for father-son discussions, BTW) to make sure he knew there were lots of them.
Here’s a 10-year old’s perfect afternoon in bullet points (this is also to remind him the next time he complains about his horrendous life):
- School out early. Every Wednesday, school is out at 12:15. The day is already going well.
- Make spur-of-the-moment playdate with friend. No texts among parents, no driving, no phone calls. Just good old, “Hey, want to come over?” asked around noon and it’s as good as gold.
- Bike from school. No bus, no car, no nothing but a bike.
- No parents to be seen. They’re biking away from school on their own. My son is 10. He’s becoming quickly independent because guess what we’re giving him: responsibility. I read somewhere, “Responsible kids have responsibilities.” Seems to work.
- Choice of destinations. They could go directly home or stop at …
- Off to the Albert Heijn. They decide, on their own, without asking permission, to go to the supermarket. Because there they have …
- Choice of food. See point #4. My son has 2.50 Euros. They have to do actual math at the store to calculate just how much they can buy. After careful consideration and a full mental spreadsheet of taste to quantity to cost ratios, they decide on …
- Doritos Roulette. I could just stop the list here and it’s already one of the top day’s of my son’s life. Not only is this the biggest bag of Doritos they can find, it’s Doritos Roulette. Now that I am in the know, I see the attraction: it’s mostly Nacho Cheese Doritos but randomly in the bag are chili-hot Doritos that will scorch the tongue of young lads like these. It’s a risk they’re willing to take.
- Do we really need to go on? At #8, we can pretty much call it a day.
- Bike home. I’m not sure my son can spell independence, but this is it.
- Play Apple TV games. This would be fun enough, but now it’s together with a friend from school and they have not 1 but 2 bags of Doritos.
I’m going to post this for posterity’s sake for when he’s 32 and his idea of the perfect afternoon is, ahem, hopefully, different!