Have you ever thought about how much we as a society seek out entertainment? If you were to put a ratio between how much you seek entertainment and meanful activity, what do you think it would be? We do the same thing when our grandchildren visit: we entertain them.
We entertain ourselves with televison. The amount of time spent there will give you a huge clue as to what that ratio is. Now add in our electronics such as smart phones and computers. For our grandchildren, they have all of the above and a vast amount of video games.
The pursuit of entertainment is one that can never be satisfied, nor is it really satisfying.
“Let their parents worry about classes and flute lessons and museum outings. It’s the in-between moments that count. Have them do whatever you’re doing—going to the bank, painting a wall, trying to fix an iPhone. I still treasure the memory of my granddaughters helping me paint while wearing their red velvet Christmas dresses, and the time the three of us learned the Macarena from a YouTube video.”
We raised our children in a farming community. Although my husband was a police officer and we didn’t farm, we knew several farmers.
One in particular, adopted my oldest children as his own grandchildren. The thing is, he really didn’t entertain them at all. He engaged them.
Like Lara was saying about helping her paint. What he did with my children was–well, work actually. There were horses to feed. There was hay to bale. Together they cleaned barns and shoveled manure.
Now, you might think that was child-slave labor. Ok. There might have been a tad bit of that. It’s sort of a farmer’s code in my neighborhood. But the kids didn’t see it that way. Why? For one reason only.
He engaged them. As they worked alongside one another, they talked. They talked about how important of work they were doing. They simply walked side by side, worked together, and bonded.
We don’t live on a farm. Chances are neither do you. So how can you engage your grandchildren in the same way?
You don’t have to do it the same. The idea is to bring your grandchild into your life. Your real life. Not the aritifical world of entertainment. That’s where the meaningful world of engagement happens.
When we cross over into engagement through everyday but meaningful tasks, entertainment is no longer necessary. Even more astonishingly, it pales in comparison.