A good way to pass the time is to do nothing — or almost nothing.
Jack, 7, decided to time how long he could sit in a tub of water in the driveway before dinner. Why did he want to do this? We will never know. Jack made it to 30 minutes and 3 seconds, per his Garmin watch.
“Ya know how I passed the time?” he asked his mother. She didn’t know, so he continued, “I attracted birds when I was sitting in the tub, so I tried to catch them with my hands. I think they were hummingbirds. There were up to eight at one point. I liked the quiet out there on the driveway.”
I love this little story shared on Facebook by Lindsey Stevenson, the daughter of Bob and LouAnne Pillers of Kendallville. Lindsey grew up in Kendallville, attending St. John Lutheran School where her mom is a middle school teacher.
Lindsey and her husband Brent and their son and daughter live in Colorado.
A few days later, Lindsey posted another message about something that occurred to her when the family visited Steamboat Lake State Park.
“While paddleboarding today, Jack said, ‘Let’s play that bus game we played last year!’ and then Brent and I took turns playing ‘Drop Off the Passengers’ with him on the other side of Steamboat Lake. His radio handle was Big Red, and I was Blue Feather.
“Because I tend to do my deepest thinking at Steamboat Lake, I had a smack-me-in-the-face realization,” Lindsey continued. “Even though he seems big in so many ways, this almost 8-year-old just wants to play. Any mild worry I’ve had lately about Jack not finding ‘his’ sport dissolved, because none of that matters at the end of the day. I’m reminded of all the pretend play I saw on the playground at swim meets this summer, only to be interrupted by parents shooing kids into the heater for their events.
“There’s not a right or a wrong way to do this, folks. So whether you’re a parent who spends every weekend on the road with a traveling sport and an all-star athlete, or a parent wondering where your kid will fit, remember that fun is the key. If there’s fun and play involved in what you’re doing, those are the lessons that will stick with kids more than something that’s a grind. There’s plenty of time for the grind later.”
Thinking about this, I remembered a book which still remains on my dad’s bookshelves: “Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing” by Robert Paul Smith. I have never read the book but as a child I often noticed the title, and loved it. I loved to do nothing and I still do.
Doing nothing leads to wondering, looking closely — clouds? ants? hummingbirds? — imagining and that wonderful phrase:
“I’ve been thinking.”
Thank you to everyone who shares stories and/or photos for the “Funny things kids say” column which I have been writing since 1987! If you have a story or photo to share please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail stories to me at 816 Mott St., Kendallville, IN 46755. Thank you! I always need more stories!