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John Winters Columnist

Published Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kid-sitting by electronics

So I picked up this t-shirt at a Boy Scout camp a while back. On the back it reads:

“You could run out of food and die ...

You could fall off a cliff and die ...

You could be attacked by a bear and die ...

Or you could stay home and fall off the couch and die”

I’ll get back to the shirt in a sec. This past week the SONS of Thunder and yours truly played bachelor. Or I should say, I played bachelor, they played “when is mom coming home?”

The Little Black Dress was off in Oklahoma, fulfilling, as we like to say around our household, her purpose. She was serving as chaplain for the Miss Oklahoma pageant. That is her gift - empowering and equipping women to find their purpose in life; to help them discover what their legacy will be, or rather, should be.

Anyway so while The Dress is off empowering women, I’m trying to keep the house and the SONS in one piece. Ferrying them to various camps, cooking meals, grocery shopping, getting the yard in shape, wondering where that cobweb under the couch came from, is that a roach? and saying more than one time “quit dragging mud in the house I just mopped and swept and how many times do I have to tell you to keep the door closed ...”

Oh yeah, and trying to get my paid job done as well.

And lots of moms are reading this and going “and? ... welcome to my world.” I have a tremendous respect for single-working parents.

And I will shamefully admit, with head bowed, I occasionally surrendered to the Great Electronics Babysitter In The Sky. Playstation, Wii, Xbox, iPod, or the old-faithful, television. Pick your poison.

I had my reasons - they did their chores; they played outside; they read; they helped cook; and frankly, I was just exhausted.

And truth be told, I enjoy wiping out a few zombies myself every now and then. I mean they stink, they are the proverbial bull in a china shop if they get in your house, and they have this rather rude tendency to want to eat your brains.

But when the SONS are using dinner time to discuss various strategies to defeat whatever or whomever, or how to find the sacred regeneration pack, or the best weapon for a particular zombie, it’s time for action.

So this past Saturday we hit the trail. I was not going to get the wrath of The Dress because one of them fell off a couch. She might understand a bear, but not a couch.

So the SONS of Thunder, along with the two SONS of Lightening, their dad and I head out for the trail. No electronics allowed.

The silence is deafening. No gunfire, no screaming, no moans of “brains!!!!” Instead, we hear birds, and squirrels. We see a deer.

And the majority of comments center around the same theme - instead of “are we there yet” as is the norm in a car, it’s “how far do you think we’ve walked.”

The various SONS would debate our length at roughly every turn in the path. At one point they pretty much agree it’s been a mile.

“Two hundred yards?” I ask Dad No. 2. “Maybe two-fifty,” he responds. Distance must be an age thing.

We did not run out of food. We did not fall off a cliff. We were not attacked by bears. But we did get off the couch.

During that hike I was thinking about The Dress and her devotionals with the contestants - about leaving the right legacy. In fact, that was how she ended each talk - “what will your legacy be?”

As parents, our greatest goal is to help our kids find their purpose; to determine what they will leave as their legacy. All the electronic games in the world will not help sort that out. Instead, we need to get off the couch and move toward our destiny.

But we all need a break every now and then. We are home from the hike. And zombies await.


John Winters is a staff writer for The Newnan-Times Herald. His personal blog (Just Flip The Dog) is at http://justflipthedog.com .

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