As a professional columnist, I would say that the biggest problem facing society today is our kids bothering us while we’re trying to work. Actually, that’s probably not the biggest problem facing society today, but I can’t figure out what is the biggest problem because my kids are bothering me while I’m trying to work.
Mainly, they’re telling me that they’re hungry. Now I want to take a moment to say that I am a decent parent, and I did feed them lunch, as well as numerous snacks. In fact, they’ve eaten more recently than I have. Also, their lunch is still sitting there on the table, half-eaten. They’ve decided a long time ago that they don’t like the crusts of their bread, so they take one bite out of the middle of the sandwich, and everything else is “crust”. So really, they can continue eating, if they’re so starving. And when I do give in and ask what they want to eat, they usually give me the same answer:
“Yeah, that’s going to fill you up.”
“Okay, a big lollypop.”
I always try to give them a food that will keep them busy, such as pistachios.
So in truth, what they are really telling me is that they’re bored. They have nothing to do, so they thought about it long and hard, and decided that what they want to do to relieve their boredom is to eat something. So I always try to give them a food that will keep them busy, such as pistachios. Let them work on that for a while.
Yes, kids nowadays are always bored, especially when their parents are trying to do something important. They crowd around you while you’re working on the computer, because the taxes you’re working on must be pretty interesting, seeing as you’ve been staring at it for the past three hours. They come into the room while you’re doing laundry and mess up all of your piles by jumping on the bed, because your bed is a lot of fun to jump on. Or at least more fun than their bunk bed. And when you’re on the phone, they stand around you and tattle on each other. They wait until you’re quiet for a second, and then they start complaining at the top of their lungs, because they don’t realize that the reason you’re quiet is that the person at the other end of the line is talking. And that person, despite all the screaming and shrieking going on at your end, doesn’t even stop, as if he or she has no clue that your attention might be elsewhere.
In fact, we have gotten to the point where if our kids don’t bother us for a few minutes, we think there might be something wrong, and we actually go and check on them. And then they see us checking, and that reminds them that they’re hungry.
In fact, if it was up to our kids, we adults would never do any of the things that we need to do to keep food in their stomachs, a roof over their heads, and clean laundry all over their floors. This is why we give them bedtimes – so that instead of trying to work while they’re hanging off our arms, we can try to work while yelling at them to get back into bed. Because all of a sudden it’s two hours past their bedtime, and they’re still awake. What are they doing up there? The strange thing is that once they get up to their bedrooms, they can somehow make their own entertainment for hours on end. You’d think that, as bored as they are in the playroom all day, surrounded by hundreds of toys, they should be even more bored in their bedrooms. But instead, they’re schmoozing and reading and playing that game where you throw all your clothes on the floor, and then you have to walk around the room without touching the floor, or else the alligator gets you. (In the wild, alligators can’t get you when you’re standing on clothing.) And then all that jumping around and shrieking makes them thirsty. So if it were up to me, I would just send them to bed right after breakfast.
But considering how much fun they have up there, what’s strange is that it’s such a fight to get them to go up there in the first place. They always want to stay up and continue playing the game that they’re playing that you were urging them to play all day long when you were trying to work.
But for some reason, our kids are not this creative during the day. When we were kids, and we told our parents that we were bored, they would send us outside to figure out how to entertain ourselves, and somehow we would do so. Sure, there was a lot of climbing of trees and uprooting of expensive flowers, and one summer, my sister and I tried to dig a pool in the backyard. Well, not so much one summer as one day. Our mother wouldn’t let us use the shovel, so we had to make do with pointy sticks, and we weren’t really getting anywhere, so we just gave up. So we never got far enough to run into any groundhog tunnels or figure out why pools are lined with concrete rather than mud, or to dig a six-foot deep hole that would swallow our father’s lawn mower. But by the next day, we had moved on to another project, such as collecting acorns, or trying to build a stepstool out of three pieces of wood we found lying near the garbage.
IMPORTANT HANDYMAN TIP: It turns out you need at least four. Plus a brave cousin who’s willing to stand on it.
But my point is that we made our own fun back then, instead of bothering our parents. Mainly we didn’t bother our parents because they would have kicked us out of the house again. Maybe our kids would also make their own fun if we would send them outside once in a while. But we don’t, at least not without one of us standing there to supervise. And we have to do this because nowadays, there are a lot of problems with society. Although, thanks to my kids, I have no idea what those are.