Your Children Play At Home Like You Play At Work
By: Danny Grubb
A guest post by Danny Grubb at Glad Dads
You don’t play at work. Of course not. You are dedicated and focused for the entire time you’re there. But just indulge me through two scenarios (which were clearly written about other people).
Your Child’s Home Scenario
You tell your child to clean his room and after some “Can I do it later?’” or “But Daaaaaaad” he finally trudges off to work on his task. Two hours later you wonder what is taking so long so you decide to check on him. What you find shouldn’t surprise you, but you “act” surprised anyway when you open the door and see him running his action figures over with his RC car.
“I thought I told you to clean your room.”
“I did.” He points to a pile of laundry that made it from the floor to the hamper. He’s in trouble.
Your Own Work Scenario
On Monday your Boss tells you to work on a project which has to be done by the end of the week. You probably don’t whine, but are internally thinking “Why didn’t he give this bull**** assignment to Smith?” As you begin to work on the assignment (that should have gone to Smith) your mind drifts… not a lot at first, and maybe not at all for the first hour or so, but eventually. You begin to think “What are we going to have for Dinner tonight?” After a while you cease to work on the project and start looking at Salmon recipes online for that fish your brother caught last weekend which has been stuck in your freezer. As you’re looking at one recipe you see an ad for a new digital camera which looks pretty cool, so you click. Fast forward another half hour and you have a detailed analysis of five different digital cameras on your note pad and four browser windows open on your desktop looking at Salmon recipes and Camera blogs. Your Boss looks over your shoulder:
“I thought you were working on that assignment.” You start clicking the “X” on your browser windows, missing some.
“I was. I am taking a break.” Internally you’re thinking about how it looks when your employee is frantically closing browser windows, but you keep clicking anyway.
“Ok, I’d like to see a progress report by the end of the day though.” You’re in trouble.
Sometimes “Playing” simply means that you’re doing what you are not supposed to be doing. Children do it and YOU do it. No one is immune from play. The only difference for adults is that the context and consequences of play have changed significantly from when we were children. The toys have changed into Social Media, Cell Phones, and Beer Mugs. The responsibilities of adulthood have limited our playtime significantly (which is why adults can get pretty grumpy).
The next time your child doesn’t complete a task because they become distracted and start playing, keep in mind the time you read a book instead of cleaning the garage, watched a game instead of doing the dishes, or were slow to start a report because you thought a digital camera was cool.
You and your child have more in common than you think. Although it is necessary to teach your child about the importance of finishing a task, play is and will remain an important part in your child’s development. So every once in a while it is ok, when your child starts playing in the middle of a task, to sit down with him and take turns crashing that RC car into Batman.