Instead of…

Yesterday, a ‘girl’ or woman in her 20’s was at my house.We were chatting about our neighborhood and I was telling her what I like most about it. Mainly, I love our neighbors and the fact that my children can play outside without me worrying about them. She smiled and said she doesn’t have kids yet but hopes when she does one day, she will have kids that play outside because it doesn’t seem like children do play outside anymore. She’s right…but not in our neighborhood.

Many, if not most, children do not play outside daily. Every single day at school, I see a young boy for counseling and we talk about what he did after school or what he will do. The only thing many boys look forward to is playing video games. There are some girls sprinkled in there but mainly it’s the boys who are addicted.

Often times, it’s the same boys who are behavior problems, impulsive, or the ones who can’t focus. Hmm…. This certainly isn’t a coincidence. But, it’s also a very preventable problem.


My son is the same type of boy who, if allowed, would spend hours on a screen. So, knowing he’s this type of kid and staring at a screen is not making him more creative, imaginative, or intelligent, we have rules. Most boys are shocked when the ‘nice’ counselor tells them that my son isn’t allowed to play video games at all during the school week.

In fact, he watches little to no t.v. most days. Why? Because instead, he’s running around outside. He’s kicking a soccer ball around with his friends. He’s asking me to play HORSE. He’s chasing kids in the cult-de-sac. He’s doing his homework, doing his chores, and helping with dinner. He’s busy because he has to be.

This is one of my pet peeves . Life is too short to not have friends, play, run in the fresh air, and create your fun. I am convinced that this habit is paying off. And while I feel proud that my children do indeed play, it does make me think about more instead of’s.

  • Instead of letting them eat crap after school, I can give them better choices.
  • Instead of cooking dinner every night, I can let them.
  • Instead of doing their laundry, I can teach them.
  • Instead of packing their lunch, I can let them.

The list goes on, and your list is different. But, I know there are more ‘instead’s’ to be done. It’s takes conscientious parenting, which is why I actually started this blog. In a culture that often does without thinking, I believe in the big picture. I believe in making choices and not defaulting to lazy and easy. What’s the instead you can start this week?




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