Monday, July 6, 2009

"I'm Bored"

No, not me.
(Well, maybe sometimes.)

But these were the words most regretted being stated by a group of young cousins of mine.
I guess the "fun" of summer vacation had worn off.
I guess the weeks between late spring practices and summer two-a-days had become nothing more than time for idle thoughts.
I guess they realized that seeing every episode of Sponge Bob has it's limits.
I guess it was time to teach another generation the lesson that my step-father had taught me.

After hearing these words, I made suggestions of "fun" things to do.
But... the mall gets old, movies can only be seen so many times, it's too hot to play basketball at the park and they'd played all of their games on their X-Boxes and PS3s.
Now it was time to have some real fun.

We were in the middle of several days of temperatures of more than 100 degrees.
(This isn't a California 100* with the cool nights and the occasional breeze. This 100* comes with humidity that prevents the evaporation of sweat. This 100* is potentially deadly.)
Having been through the "I'm bored" lessons of Summer - many of the older boys were more than willing to take part in the form of crew leaders.

The past two weeks were spent making repairs to older relatives homes, digging gardens and playing tennis.
(Yes, tennis. Tennis helps in the development of their footwork for football. Playing tennis is good cardio to make up for the weeks sitting on their parent's couches playing Madden 09. Being able to play tennis will help to expand their social options later in life. So yeah... tennis.)

One cousin asked, "Why are we doing all of this for free?".
"Because we can do something for free - or we can sit at home and do nothing for free." - I stated.
Some got it some didn't. (But it was later explained by the older boys.)
If a boy learns to take care of an aunt or grandmother or older cousin in their childhood - they will be better prepared to take care of their wives and children in adulthood.
The skills and knowledge acquired during the "I'm bored" part of summer will help them to be more self sufficient.

The digging and planting of gardens is always fun.
The youngest boys always make a race of it and end up having to re-dig and repair the mistakes they've made. They learn to do things right the first time.
After several days of preparing the soil, planting begins.
We offer either a flower or a vegetable garden (Most chose the "both" option that wasn't offered.)

The boys then have to come back to water the gardens and pull weeds.
They learn that it's not just about getting something - but that maintenance is also important.
Haven done the work and sweating for hours planting the gardens - they were in no hurry to see their projects fail.

The Forth of July was the last day of the "I'm bored" portion of Summer.
The boys collected, marinated and labeled hundreds of pounds of meat from various relatives the night before. (The day was spent mowing older relative's lawns for the holiday weekend.)
At six am - the coals were lit.
By noon - sweaty, smoky and tired - they were done.
One cousin commented that he drank Gatorade like his uncle drinks Crown Royal whenever he cooks Bar-B-Que. But since it was only Gatorade - the cousin's Bar-B-Que wasn't burned and didn't taste like starter fluid.

The aunt's, uncles and grandparents were thrilled with the results.
The drunkles (drunk uncles) were a bit envious at the younger generation haven done a better job than themselves.
The boys got an unexpected surprise of payment from the older family members for their weeks of hard and diligent work.

Today I made my rounds.
To a boy - as soon as I walked into a house and saw anyone just sitting around - they would jump up and begin to clean something.
Anything really.
All in an effort to not appear bored.


Lola Gets said...

YES! I KNOW THATS RIGHT! Make'em work!


FreeMan said...

I think all kids at the early teens complain they are bored. I swear you have the same thing going with your family that I do with my nephew. Football practice is boring and he is always complaining. He is always bored so much so I don't even pay attention. I told him when life is exciting you won't have enough money and when you have enough money you won't find things exciting.

I got him involved in starting a business online. He is a complete a**hole right now but I remember thinking the same way as him too at that age. I guess puberty sucks and that transition age between getting your first job but still being treated like a kid is hard to get through.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ FreeMan - Yeah... Or,
When you have the time you won't have the money - but when you have the money you won't have the time.

I think most lessons are universal but often forgotten.
(or the generation of fathers is missing to teach these lessons).

brohammas said...

Long live "camp Ugly".