Sunday, February 11, 2007

Let me Entertain you!




A quote my mother shared with me from Annette Bening in an interview in LIFE magazine:

"When kids get big enough, they need a certain amount of separateness. As do parents. I think it's healthy for kids to know they're part of your life but not running the show. Parents used to be more comfortable saying "Look, these are our lives, and you're along for the ride. When you're a grown-up, your kids will be along for that ride." There's something healthy in that. And in saying "You're bored? Figure it out. I'm not your entertainer. Go be bored." I can remember so well being bored [as a kid], thinking. What am I gonna do? That's a really important thing for a kid. That's how you find out who you are, how you find your sense of self."

Ms. Benning's thinking is right on. I've never felt like I needed to entertain anybody (a point probably made more obvious by my blog). I am NOT an entertainer. When I was the Enrichment counselor in our ward here, I felt this overwhelming feeling from the women that they wanted to be entertained. Wrong "e" word, I thought to myself, it's enriched. I feel this way as a mother. To appoint myself as the entertainer for my children...wouldn't that be stifling their own creativity? It's kind of like coloring books. The pictures are there, the lines are set--just fill in the blanks!

I will direct, I will comfort, instruct, praise, encourage, I will help, I will answer, I will even play, but I will not entertain. It is liberating and in a way, gives part of me back to myself--to say that.

14 comments:

Dana said...

I really enjoyed these thoughts!

When my kids tell me they are bored, I always say one of two things; "And you think that is my problem" and/or "Well the toilet needs scrubbing. Would you like to scrub it?"

Enjoyable read!

Jenny said...

I am so glad you said those things. I really NEVER entertain my children and often feel totally guilty over it. I love what you said though they wouldn't be as creative. So true.

Just on another side note I was the enrichment leader a year ago. It was my hardest calling ever. I am glad I wasn't the only one who thought so.

Kristi Brooke said...

i can't decide if i am entertaining my kids or myself with the things i do with them. probably more myself.

when we hear i am bored here, they have to clean baseboards.

great post

Amy said...

Amen to the quote. I'm continually amazed by what my kids come up with when left to their own "entertainment"...they go places I never imagined.

shawnaB. said...

Great quote! I cannot stand the phrase, "I'm bored." I am honestly NEVER bored and for some reason think that my children should never be either! I shudder when I hear "bored" and like Kristi, I start rattling off jobs they can do! Works every time!

ingrid said...

I am grateful for little ones close in age that entertain each other and keep ME entertained! I can honestly say that I am never bored!

Elizabeth said...

I agree. Sometimes I find myself entertaining because it is a quick fix to stop the crying or the I'm boreds but in the long one teaching them to self entertain goes a long way.
I remember telling my mom I was bored as a kid and she said I don't want to hear that go find a book to read. I have never been bored since.

amy m said...

First of all the photos are darling. Certainly makes me happy this morning to see kids enjoying themselves so much.

I so agree with letting children's imagination entertain them. It's so important for a child to figure out for themselves and not always be told "what" and "how". I loved it when you said, "gives part of me back to myself". That is exactly what it feels like.

Crystalyn said...

great thoughts! i certainly will use this on a daily basis. liberating indeed!

rebecca said...

You are right - a giving quote, not only to mothers but to children. What darling kids you have. Frankly, they entertain ME.

annalisa said...

I love this post. Having only one child who is need of more human interaction, I often find myself feeling guilty I don't want to play kindergarten games all day and leave her to play by herself most of the day. But when I ask her about her projects (another word for messes) I am amazed at the ideas she invents. It is healthy for her and I need not feel so guilty.
She rarely tells me she's bored (only when she'd trying to connive something out of me) but I should try the chore approach. Great idea!

Jill said...

I totally agree with these thoughts. The word b-r-d is a bad word in our house so we DO NOT ever say it, and on the rare occasions when one of the kids is acting that way I offer to give them some jobs to do. This always works!

michelle said...

I totally agree with this. I am a mother, not a cruise director. I have many roles, but an entertainer is not one of them. I am here to comfort, feed, and assist them in innumerable ways, but that is not part of my job! That's for articulating it so well.

amy w. said...

Guilty as charged Jordan. I do find I plan activities pretty much on a daily for my kiddos. But I'm with Kristi--I'm not sure who enjoys it more, me or them.

I would have been a great Julie on the Love Boat.