I have a theory. If you take your kids to weird places, odd and unusual events, likegGraffiti parties, Cat Shows, crawdad cookoffs and music festivals they will be better equipped to handle all sorts of bizarre and strange situations in life. They will become more flexible and well behaved. If you take kids to different types of events, different cultures won’t make them freak out or cause them to melt down. I know so many kids who go into spoiled-kid-anaphylactic-shock when they have to deal with something unfamiliar. They point, stare and whine, they get picky, rude, grouchy and insulant.
Start hauling them around when they are just two or three so by the time they are seven they will be fun and well behaved and you can take them anywhere. They will learn to suck crawdad tails, eat crepes, smelly cheese and home made rootbeer.
Tonight, I took Sandor and Lex to the Blues Fest downtown. Sandor didn’t know if he really wanted to go, but I said get in the car. He didn’t know what to expect (he went to the jazz and blues fest last year but 9 year old boys forget everything). I didn’t let him bring an I-Pod or game because I wanted him to actually pay attention to the Blues Fest, I wanted him to listen to the music, watch the musicians, eat the yucky fried food and watch old hippies dance with bluesy abandon.
Since the kids were toddlers I’ve been dragging them to Amish quilt festivals, zydeco concerts, art galleries, documentary festivals, black history celebrations, cheese making parties, donkey basket ball games, farmers markets, poetry slams, football games and rock concerts. I do it because it’s fun and I think it’s good for them. As a result they usually know how to handle all kinds of situations. When we go out they don’t whine too much, they relax and have fun. As soon as the band started the first big blues song Lex and Sandor were up on the floor dancing together. Sandor even did his moonwalk.
So please, don’t make the mistake of keeping your kids at home just because they don’t think they want to go to the Topiary Festival or Polo Game. You’re the parent, tell them to get in the car and give it a try. Be brave, take them to stuff, weird stuff and relax. If it doesn’t work out….you can always leave. And try again next weekend.