a rule I always seem to forget... "Don't Ask the Kids What they Want to do... Tell the kids what everyone is doing!"

the boys are getting older
Dean is 13 and Grant is now 11
these shots are from various moments in the past
a few random representations of their active lives

active children come from active families
it is rare for a child to be self motivated
or at least in my experience

Adventures with the Kids tend to happen at "gun point"
taken against their will
removed from what they want to do
forced to do what the parents want them to do

as a soccer coach I often hear parents and their mention of their child's will or desire
what does little billy know about what is best for him
we do not let our children decide to eat ice cream instead of vegetables
why would we let them play video games instead of something productive

my kids did Karate for a number of years
there would be periods where they wanted to quit
often the objection to Karate came when it was time to get dressed for Karate
I tried not to entertain the conversation of quitting Karate before Karate class
I would ask them if they want to quit Karate after Karate practice

they always wanted to quit Karate before Karate Class
never once did either of my boys suggest quitting Karate after Karate Class

my kids have since then quit karate

in hindsight... kids Karate is a bit of a joke
it is expensive and may not really ad up to anything
having a kid do Karate from 6 to 10 years of age is far less valuable than a kid doing Karate from 10 to 15 years of age

oh well... my kids are onto other things

Karate is just one example
soccer had its battles
bike riding and bike racing has always involved battles
I can not think of anything active that the kids initiated

not even croquet or KanJam!

my kids have NEVER said... "hey dad... lets go for a bike ride!"
my kids have never said... "hey dad... lets grab the sleds and hit the local hill before anyone else!"
and most certainly... my kids have never said, "lets leash the dog and go for a hike!"

no... my kids have never suggested an adventure
all these things have happened against their will

the tendency is for there to be some fighting
then once the activity starts there can be some attitude
but then once things get going
they are STOKED
they do not know what is best for them
it is up to the parents to help the kids do what is best for them
aid them in developing interests
music... sports... and school
all of these things need parental guidance

structured activities are the easy answer
set on the calendar
rather than a loose plan with an escape option

video games are the devil
screen as a whole is the devil
tough to moderate

the kids are not capable of structuring their time

it is a rainy day here in Washington DC
I made the mistake of "asking" my younger son Grant if he wanted to go ice skating
failure on my part
it should have been a directive
"Grant... get dressed... we are going ice skating! Do you want to invite a friend?"
but no... I thought I would be that "cool dad" and offer up the option
the option was shot down
shot down and Grant's focus went straight back to the screen
darn screen

yes... I am a screen addict as well
I often "dual screen" it
maybe even "tri-screen"
computer... television... and iPhone

what to do with this rainy day?
not sure
but anything would be better than nothing
we need to do something

there is much that I need to do
yes... need!
gotta get focuses... gotta knock out some tasks

one of the things I need to do is "get my son Grant off the screen!"

yes... note to self

the passive approach is never as good as the active approach
there is an error on the parent's part... the parent gets this wonderful idea in their head
a trip to the zoo... a museum adventure...
it sounds spectacular... how could the kids say no?
the kids always say no

so... why ask?
just tell

and... well... there is no "telling" how things will unfold
I took Grant to Atomic Music in College Park
he was in a mood... which shortened our visit and made my experience that much less enjoyable
but... got rid of that drum set that was in the garage
a drum set that I got from a friend for the boys that never had enough interest to merit a full set up

time to trim the fat
time to thin the herd

got credit for a future purchase at Atomic Music
got to see my old friend Luis
then made things a little better by dropping into Petco to check out some lizards and then to the drug store to get some PEEPS

parenting is not always fun or easy
both the boys are each on their screens
I am going to let it go
I am going to go walk the dog

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