My two boys are both the greatest source of joy and madness in my life. If you're a parent, I need not say more. If you aren’t, there is little I can do to explain it. I LOVE my boys, but every parent has their hot button. My hot button? STUFF!
Children require LOTS and LOTS of stuff.
Some stuff is born out of necessity. Some is required for health and safety. And yes, some is necessary for entertainment and play. But where does the madness end? My children's toys could entertain a small elementary school for weeks and I am fairly confident that the food remnants in the back seat of our family truckster could end starvation in Africa.
So when my children came to me with a “must have” toy request, I was somewhat “skeptical” (or as my kids described it: cranky). What was the object of their latest fancy? Something called a fidget spinner.
I asked, "What's a fidget spinner?”
After their explanation, my only question was, "If I buy you this, will you stop flipping those stupid water bottles?"
So, as it turns out, the next day, Easter Bunny showed up with fidget spinners for both boys AND ME (my wife is GOOD!). For the next two weeks we learned tricks, played games, and argued over who could make theirs spin the longest. Last night while playing with our new spinners (yep, we upgraded to better ball bearings) my son Brayden asked, “Did you have fidget spinners when you were a kid?”
I thought about all of the toys in my life that might be considered a spinner or a manipulative. You know, something that was tactile and allowed my mind to rest while my hands were at play. Hmmmmm.
“YES,” I responded… Music!
As a drummer, I was always tapping on something. Tapping my fingers, hands, and legs. Practicing rudiments and patterns. It didn’t require an instrument and could be done in relative quiet through all hours of the day and night.
Like many of you, music allowed me to have an outlet, physically, cognitively, and emotionally. It occupied my mind and provided kinesthetic engagement and feedback. It provided a break from math and science and the rules and rigors of school. It excited and calmed me at the same time.
Maybe your “fidget spinner" had twenty seven keys. Maybe it had three buttons. Maybe it had a slide or strings. But unlike my NEW toy, I've carried my old fidget spinner with me for over forty years.
Have a great week!