Before our divorce, my ex and I decided to get some chickens for our urban home. We started with a few and pretty soon got hooked.
Fast forward a bit and I ended up with custody of the chickens and my son and I raised them for several years until we finally ended up with a landlord unwilling to let us bring them along.
But during the years we had them, my son (and his friends) loved the chickens. While not smart, each one had a personality and each one laid eggs with deep yellow yolks. He learned about caring for animals and responsibility. He also learned what a coyote can do to a small flock of hens.
Our experience with chickens played a role in figuring out what post-rugby hobbies my son would take up. As you recall last week, we had some interesting suggestions…none of which I could immediately implement.
We talked about several options and two emerged the winners: starting a garden and beginning CrossFit for kids. How did I contribute to this?
I asked him to make an expanded list of choices. As you know from last week’s blog, his initial list of hobby choices was…adventurous. I asked him to expand his list and encouraged him to brainstorm everything he could. His new list had several additions in the extreme category, but we talked about plusses and minuses, and we talked about activities I engaged in previously. I told him about my experience one summer at a CrossFit box and how much I enjoyed it, and the discussion led to his ultimate decision to investigate CrossFit for kids and to pursue it.
I encouraged him to list what interests him. He and I (and the new blended family) have discussed getting chickens again, but we have new puppies and the timing is not right. He and his youngest stepbrother had talked about a garden instead of more animals. The process of listing interests and crossing off the marginal ones pointed back to something my son loves…growing and harvesting. This time, he will harvest veggies and fruits instead of collecting fresh eggs, but it will scratch a similar itch.
I followed through. We cannot go through a process like this and let our kids down by dropping the ball (which I have done on multiple occasions). On Sunday, we got the necessary supplies at Home Depot and started the gardening project. This coming Friday, he will go to his first CrossFit for kids class at a box just a few minutes away.
Giving our kids some options other than screen time helps everyone. Finding a way to connect with our kids by exploring their interests, sharing our interests and experiences, and figuring out how to execute will pay dividends in the long term.
Now we just have to wait and see what comes of the garden…and if he likes CrossFit.
Have your kids chosen a hobby based on something you did as a kid or something they saw you do as an adult? What was it?