If you ask any parent, they’re going to tell you that they want to get their kids the greatest gifts and do the most fun things. When I was in college, I had a co-op here in Rochester. I was driving around exploring the town and saw this giant playground. There’s actually two components to this park. One of them is a giant structure with bridges connecting each other and activities at each place.
The second park was just a few vehicles on giant springs, but a few other vehicles that are fixed.
If I saw that place as a kid, I’d go and run around the first part. But considering I was an adult at the time with no kids, I just looked at it when I drove by. Otherwise I’d be kind of creepy.
We eventually had kids and we’ve taken them to this part many times. A few Saturdays ago, it was 70° and since that was kind of rare for November in Minnesota, I took the girls to this park. To my surprise, they went to the “boring” half of the park. Both of them were having a great time. They played and played. They never went back to the “cool” part. Of course, that’s what I call them.
But what can we learn from this? Our kids have different tastes than us. They have their own priorities and preferences. That cool new toy you’re going to spend a large chunk of the Christmas budget on? It might be a flop. That cool restaurant you think they’re going to love? It might be boring or even terrifying depending on the décor. I’ll admit I’ve made these mistakes. Sometimes kids will like something for a completely different reason than we expect. When Emma went to Kindergarten, when she was going to school, a radio program was on called Revive Our Hearts. It was focused on ministry to adult women. In the evenings we would occasionally listen to Adventures in Odyssey, a radio drama geared towards kids. One day Amie asked Emma which program she liked more. Her answer was Revive Our Hearts. When we asked why, she said that the lady always told the current date, and she liked that (each episode would start with “You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts for December 6th, 2012”). That was apparently very important to Emma, and we only knew that after asking her questions. I think we got her a calendar after that so she could keep track of the days also.
So make sure you’re talking with your kids and asking them what they would like. You’ll have greater success of hitting a “home run”.
What things have your kids preferred that have surprised you?