The tent is set up in just the right spot of the campground. Fire is burning gently throwing a blanket of aromatic smoke over the campsite. Camp chairs are carefully arranged around the campfire. They are ready for the best part of camping–a time around the campfire with great stories and food. Speaking of food… Very soon, the food will be cooked over the fire and will be enjoyed by some hungry mouths.
Suddenly, “No! Wait! Don’t touch it!” exclaims me instinctively. “Dirty and unsanitary,” says my brain. It says it so clear it is almost audible. My youngest found a huge toad. Innocent curiosity drives his desire to catch the forest dweller. My inner self quickly realized what was happening and told me to shut up. To kill a little kid’s curiosity would be much more worse than having to wash his hands again. I bite my tongue and with a smile on my face I observe this cute scene.
It may not sound like a big deal to you, but if you knew me even in the very least you would quickly get an idea that I like order and cleanliness. The more I think about it, I am not sure I like this about myself very much anymore. There is nothing wrong about being clean and orderly, but do we take it too far?
Antibacterial wipes and multiple bottles of hand sanitizer–in every car, everywhere around the house, in purses and backpacks, of different colors and scents. Air purifiers and advanced HVAC filters to catch more “dirt” for which we pay triple the price of regural filters. Isn’t soap in the bathroom enough?
In the case of kids playing in dirt, another two words that come to mind are “efficiency” and “convenience.” My life–and probably more so my wife’s life, since she does most of the cleaning and laundry–is so much more efficient and convenient when we have to deal less with cleaning and washing clothes. So is it a laziness then? We simply don’t want to be inconvenienced? Or is it a fear of “getting behind” in this rat race of life, because we are being slowed down and can’t get to the next thing on our agenda fast enough?
If you missed spending time with your kid, it is gone forever.
Let the kids be kids! Let them play. Allow them to get dirty. Even further, encourage them to get outside and explore, learn and discover the world around them. Help them to broaden the boundaries of their world.
So Dads! Let’s not sacrifice our kids’ play time–I’m talking about real get-outside-and-get-dirty play time, not sit-in-front-of-a-screen-all-day play time. Let’s not shelter them and deprive them so we can have more “convenient” life for ourselves sitting on a couch and watching sports every weekend. What would happen if you missed that game? You probably recorded it anyways. If not, you can get highlights later or I’m sure you can definitely get play-by-play from your colleague in the office tomorrow. If you missed spending time with your kid, it is gone forever. Let’s get off the couch and do something your kids will remember you by. Let’s go get dirty with them!