Mar 3, 2013 James Wilcox
Musings of a Kansas City Dad &Teacher
Balancing Work and Play (An Early Life Lesson)
When we got the phone call Monday evening announcing that school had been cancelled on Tuesday, my oldest son immediately started making plans for the snow day. He started talking about the snow fort he was going to build, planned a sledding trip to “Suicide Hill”, and debated which friends he was going to have over for a snow ball fight. He had the entire day planned in a matter of minutes. I didn’t want to be the one to “ruin” his day, but I had to remind him that he had a job to do before he could initiate his “plan”.
As my son groaned, I reminded him that he had already committed to shovel snow for three of our neighbors. I explained that we needed to finish shoveling before he could initiate his “snow day plan.” I also reminded him that we had to shovel our own drive and walkway before we started shoveling at the neighbors. Needless to say, he was crushed.
Although we tried to get an early start, our day was complicated when several branches from the tree in our front yard came crashing down, landing on the roof. We had to cut down braches before we could even begin shoveling. My son wasn’t happy about the tree cutting or the shoveling and he kept dropping hints that he would rather be playing than working. He worked hard though, knowing he had to finish his “work” before he could play.
We managed to finish our walk and driveway and one of the other houses, and even got started on the second neighbor’s house before it was time to break for lunch. My wife reminded me that our son needed time to play in the snow, while we were bundling up again. I nodded my head and agreed that he could start working on his snow fort, while I started shoveling the neighbors drive. Nearly two hours later, he finally joined me. He clearly felt bad that I was just finishing up one of the driveways he had agreed to shovel, but he was also proud of the snow fort he had made.
We spent the rest of the afternoon shoveling the remaining houses and finishing our work. By the time we called it a day, both of us were too exhausted to do anything else in the snow. My son was upset that he didn’t get to do everything he had planned and regretted agreeing to shovel for so many neighbors. He did feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in all of his hard work though. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go to school on Wednesday, so he was able to hit “Suicide Hill” and have a snowball fight with his friends.
Although his son day didn’t work out as originally planned, he did learn an important lesson about balancing work and play.