General Fiction posted July 29, 2022

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My thoughts on raising kids.

Raising Kids?

by Tom Rinkes

I was once asked what's my best advice for raising kids? Wow, that's tough one. I 've been a parent for almost fifty years now and I'm still waiting for someone to write a book about the proper method. Yes, I know, Dr. Spock wrote one but he was a total nutcase. Every Baby Boomer knows that. So, I guess I'll share a couple of my experiences with little kids and let you make a judgement.

It was the summer of 1984 when nine members of our family decided to take a long road trip from Eastern Ohio to Colorado Springs Co. where the youngest sister, Cindy lived. We rented a large passenger van and left in late June. In it was Phillip, father-in-law, Ethel, mother-in-law, Evelyn and Patty, their daughters, Gerry and me, married to those lively ones, Paul, twelve and Beth six, mine and Patty's kids and Heather, eleven who belonged to Evelyn and Gerry.
The kids were good till about Columbus, Ohio but we turned north they got a little rowdy. I turned around so many times and voiced a "Shut the hell up!!" that I finally gave up and then thought about just recording that phrase and let it do the honors. But I didn't because that would've have been bad parenting in some ... professional's opinion. We bed down for the night in Southern Wisconsin and proceeded to relax in our motel rooms. Within minutes the fun started.

After we all settled down I kept hearing this strange noise. It sounded just like "BOING, BOING" and loud too. I looked around the corner and Heather was jumping up and down on her bead and it was making that sound. My two looked at me like "OK?". I thought What the hell. We're on vacation. So, I gave them the high sign and walked away. After a half an hour they quit with sore knees and it was time for bed. The downside was Heather had to sleep in that bedâ?"Well? Why not? She started it.â?"and the upside was they slept like babies all night long.

After all, they were just kids.

The next time I was in charge of three youngin's was a few summers ago. One hot, humid mid-July day I had the pleasure of entertaining my two grandchildren, Hailey and Ryan plus their cousin Kaleb, Evelyn's grandson. The local pool had closed for cleaning and they were getting bored when I got brainfart. We had an old swing set out back with a sliding board that the kids were too big for so I drug the water hose over to it and duct-taped the end to the top of the sliding. I walked back into the house and asked,

"Anybody wanna play on a water slide?"

They jumped up and ran just as I turned the water on. They were having a ball and I went back in to get a coffee. All of a sudden things got really quiet and I hurried back out. They were just standing there looking at a small mud puddle they'd made at the bottom of the slide. The water was still running, they were still hot and not knowing what I'd think. I told them to wait a minute and I turned the water on full blast.

"Go on." I said. "Do some mud wrestling," and away they went. They were splashing in it and throwing mudballs at each other and having a good old time. When they were all wore out I got my camera and took their pic. It's in with this essay. They were so proud of themselves. The kicker was Hailey who was twice as dirty as the boys.

So, I guess my theory is let be kids be kids as long as they're kids. Real life will grow them up faster than any of us non-computer age adults could ever imagine.

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