It makes me sad to think that I have to “schedule” fun for my son. In the olden days (perhaps “Golden Days”), a kid just ran outside and found another kid or a bunch of kids. They played into the wee hours of the evening, when they knew it was time to go home for dinner. Now, with pedophiles, lunatics, street crime and, unfortunately, some unsavory kids in the mix, it’s pretty much impossible to just send your kid out to play.
Hence, the play date. The play date is a carefully orchestrated arranged meeting between two similar youngsters. It usually involves a call to the other child’s parents, an arranged time, a pick up (or drop off). It can range anywhere from an hour to an entire day. It usually includes expenditures of money. These can range from buying the kids lunch, a treat, taking them to the movies, the zoo, bowling, shopping, arcades, etc. It also almost always includes a major sacrifice of your own time. Depending upon the age of the children involved, parental supervision is almost always needed.
With all of these caveats in mind, I am arranging a play date for my son this Sunday. I will most likely pick up his friend and take them bowling or to a movie. They are too young to stay at the movies on their own, so I will have to suffer through some G/PG rated kid’s calamity. I will console myself with a $10 popcorn and a $4 bottle of water. What I really need is just one $14 really strong drink. But likes tons of other parents out there, I will be doing this in the name of my son’s happiness. It’s not his fault that the world has become too harsh a place for free play. I must protect him at all costs, yet still provide him with the necessary social interaction for him to become a well-rounded and well-adjusted young man. With these goals in mind, it hardly seems like a sacrifice at all. Of course, I’ll have to arrange a play date for myself some time. Fair is fair.