“I don’t want to invite anyone to come over to play in our backyard,” my daughter said.
“Why not?” I asked, ready to lob out the invite.
“Because it’s boring,” she said. “We have nothing to do here. I’d rather go somewhere else.”
Of course, she’s referring to the fact that we don’t have a pool or a large trampoline (in fact, we do have a smaller one, and we even have a cool swing set!). But, nowadays, unless you have all the gadgets, gizmos and a virtual Disneyland resort, your backyard is, well, a snooze fest. Dull, dismal and…boring.
Now I know this is a thing with this new generation, and I’m getting in my old lady whicker rocker now and sipping on an Arnold Palmer when I say this, but remember the days of yore when we had like a tree and some acorns to play with in the backyard? Maybe just a crappy sandbox, too?
Well, I do.
I recall playing with imaginary friends, or making a “house” over the vent above our basement with rocks and grass. The neighbors would come, and we’d play kick the can till the sun went down, or we’d make forts with dirt and mud.
There was no zip line, no pool, no hot tub, nothing. Sometimes, my neighbor would have her parents’ camper out back, and we’d move into that for the weekend, tape recording ourselves doing interviews in different voices on an old-school tape recorder. We’d eat rolls of Now & Laters and Jolly Ranchers, play Mad Libs, or MASH. We’d trade stickers or play Chinese jump rope, share the one barbie doll we had between us, creating different hairstyles.
Now, I have 50 barbies and a barbie camper for my child. And an iPad, two dogs, bikes, and a swing set. But it’s boring here? I’m not sure how to keep up. Last year, we were able to join the pool. Now, we have to stay home to be safe.
“Want to run through the sprinkler?!” I ask, thinking this might be a solution. Her look says it all. This, too, is boring and “cold.”
So, we can tell them not to be spoiled, to appreciate what they have, or the “When I was young, I played with acorns,” stories, but it doesn’t seem to resonate. For now, I wonder, what I can BUY to make my yard more “fun?” This is just sad.
You can’t buy an imagination or a sense of wonder.
Do you think our kids will look back when they’re older and say, “Remember that time I got Robucks, and we sat next to each other on our iPads buying Adopt Me pets or Fortnite skins?”
I don’t know. They might.
But, for now, I’ll sit in my boring backyard and wait to see!