throwing curveballs

I never saw it coming.

My dad is a brilliant man. I tell people he is the wisest man that I have ever known. I’m not aware of him ever making a bad decision. He’s a retired NASA engineer. When people say “It’s not rocket science,” I think about whether or not my dad would concur. He was double major in math and physics, served his country in the Army and was a college athlete.

I think that if someone were to ask my two siblings or myself if my dad was strict on us, I think we would all  simultaneously “spit-take.” Yes, our dad was strict. And we needed him to be.

And that’s why I never saw this coming. When I was a sophomore in high school, my dad, “Mr. Rocket-scientist-do-it-by-the-book,” checked us out of school to go see the premier of Star Wars. What? Yep. Our dad threw us a serious curveball. And it was AWESOME (say that with a high pitched voice for effect)!

We probably had some popcorn but that escapes my memory. My brother remembers that we had to wear nice clothes. I don’t remember that part either but then again, I try to block out any memories of “wearing nice clothes.” I know that we were blown away by that opening scene where the Star Destroyer passes overhead. But what really stands out was that my dad checked us out of school. No warning. We had no clue. I remember the confusion of hearing my name over the school intercom. Was I in trouble? Had I been found out? “No Kenny, you’re going to the movies!”

So here’s the question: what if that was normal for our children?

Every time a new movie came out we went and extracted our kids from school, got them to change into some nice clothes and headed to the movies. Are you with me? Of course, I kid. Sort of.

No what I’m talking about is raising our children in a way that keeps them on their toes. They never know what is coming next. A healthy dose of curveballs. Where we are sprinkling in a little excitement and surprise to everyday events. Taking the ordinary to extraordinary. And make this normal. You want to talk about children that will be fascinated with family. Oh man!

“Hey Kenny, won’t that be a lot of work?” I believe that if you will practice this it will become so normal that it won’t seem like work at all. In fact, you’ll look forward to the challenge of what to try next. You will enjoy this.

Think about it. What if we thought of a new way to do Disney (oh, I have some ideas)? Or came up with a new way to have a water gun battle? Or a new way to color in coloring books? Or new ways to go to the beach or camp or hike or fly a kite? What about new ways to work a puzzle or play a board game or have a pillow fight or go to the zoo?

What if we kicked our brains in gear and found some new ways to do those things. In ways that our kids never saw coming. Get your cameras ready. This is going to be fun. This is the stuff that will cause your children’s friends to say “man, I wish I could be in your family.” Your cool points will go way up. Because you know it’s all about collecting cool points.

So here’s what we’re going to do: every week, I’ll throw out a new way to do something with our kids and if it triggers another idea in your brain, take it and run with it. Let us know what you’re thinking. Think outside the box. We’re in this together. Throwing curveballs at our kids.


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