Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Captivating the Next Generation

When I was a kid my parents took me to a lot of family reunions. On one level I always appreciated them because I have always had a strong sense of family, but most of the time I found them rather dull. It was usually a bunch of old people sitting around in a park shelter talking about old dead cousins and other musty subjects. Sometimes there was a fun cousin that I knew that I could hang out with, but if I didn't recognize anyone there I never had the skills to reach out and connect with strange distant cousins and get them to play with me. Being outgoing was never my strong point.

This year, they put my cousin Anne in charge of the reunion activities. It was a brilliant move. Anne really kicked it up a notch. In addition to a large cooler full of ice cream bars free for the taking, there was a craft table (very popular with my Fish):

and a badminton set (very exciting for Bean):

Anne even got us all dancing the funky chicken at one point, something completely unheard of in my family up to this point:

And while we still were in the traditional park shelter, Anne chose a beautiful park right up next to the mountains with a fun playground.

So there I was, one of the old bodies, sitting around talking about musty old cousins and looking through ancient photo albums but instead of being bored my kids were having a blast. The activities made it easier for them to connect with the other kids there too.

Small, simple changes that made a big difference. Way to go, Anne! We can't wait for 2010!
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