were young, I read with them. Pretty soon I realized it really didn't
matter what I read with them ... as long as I read with
Then when they were older and I played more than mere kindergarten
games with them, I realized it really didn't matter either
what games I played with them ... as long as I played with them.
Children are natural players. But as they grow older, they will learn
from the world (Man! ... they ... will ... learn ...) life
isn't about playing: it's about accumulating and surviving.
When I, a successful adult and their parent, play with them, I'm
in life, play is also a valid raison d'etre along with
surviving. By playing with them I show them play is a viable option for
life. They find out from me that while surviving is essential in the
day to day
who we really are
as human beings which comes forth as play.
It's more than that actually. It's in playing with
who we really areas relationship comes forth.
Demonstratingwho we really are
as relationship comes forth (ie can viably come forth)
as play, is a key to successful parenting - not necessarily the same
brand of parenting as going through the biological motions.
My adult son Joshua
and I play together. Play is an essential expression of our
relationship. I follow two of his passions: gardening and cooking. One
morning he came over to my
where I live, with a couple of frozen burritos which he proceeded to
nuke in the microwave oven. Sitting outside on patio
chairs looking over the
we ate them for
They were delicious. "Where did you buy them?" I asked him. "I didn't
buy them" he said, "I made them myself.".
"These are amazing" I thought. The thought "He is amazing
..." soon followed. So I asked him "Hey,
What if we made a project of it, go to the Safeway
together and shop for ingredients, then come back here and make up
burritos like these to freeze for whenever we want a snack?".
thought it was a great idea. He jumped up to get a pencil
and paper to make a shopping list. He's very thorough like that. I like
it that he makes lists. "We'll need eggs," he said, writing it down,
"tortillas, and what meat do you like, Dad?". "Sausage" I said. "And
what vegetables?". "How about brussel sprouts, chives, and tomatoes?".
"OK brussel sprouts, chives, and tomatoes. We'll need some butter for
the pan, cheese, wax paper to wrap them in once they're cooked, and
some ziplock plastic bags to put them in so they don't get
freezer burn.". Then, list in hand, we drove down to the store. On the
way I said "I love doing this with you
He said "I love doing this with you too, Dad.".
I'm deftly piloting the shopping cart up and down the aisles. He's
carefully choosing the items we need from the shelves. He doesn't only
price compare. He reads the labels as well,
those, for example, with
too muchtrans fats and
sodium, for those with less. He carefully examines each item (like an
examines a brush or a crayon) before putting it in the shopping cart,
or returning it neatly to the shelf. I watch him closely (unbeknownst
to him) as he does this. I'm so proud of him, so proud of
self-taught diligence. We bag our own purchases at the check-out
counter (paper not plastic), load everything into the trunk of my
Toyota Yaris, then set out back to the
talking animatedly along the way about how to proceed
Our first task is to chop the brussel sprouts, chives, and tomatoes on
a cutting board. He chops while I find a bowl, a large bowl - remember
we're making about twenty burritos. He shovels the chopped vegetables
into the bowl with the flat of the big chopping knife he's using, then
slices the sausage into slightly smaller than bite size bits. I watch
at work. I get another bowl for the sausage bits, then start grating
cheese while he deftly splits eggs with one hand into another bowl.
We're not yet sure whether the egg shells should be saved for compost,
so we set them aside along with all the vegetable offcuts - just in
I wash and put away all the kitchen equipment and utensils he's used so
far. I want him to have a clear space in which he can work. The place
is now immaculate. On the kitchen counter there's a bowl of vegetable
pieces, another bowl of sausage bits, a pile of grated cheese on the
cutting board, and the bowl with the now slightly beaten eggs. He's got
the tortillas in the oven on low heat so they become soft and flexible.
I'm his sous chef, a role I thoroughly enjoy.
The pans I have are too small to cook the entire mix all at once, so we
get some dessert plates and bowls from the cabinet. We divide the
vegetable pieces into four plates, the sausage bits into four plates,
the grated cheese into four piles on the cutting board, and the beaten
eggs into four bowls. Now we're ready to start cooking - in four
In one pan on the stove he sautés one plate of sausage bits half
way. Then he adds one plate of vegetable pieces and sautés them
all together. In the other pan using a wooden spoon, he scrambles one
bowl of beaten eggs, then blends in the sausage and vegetable mix and
one pile of grated cheese. He lets it all simmer for a moment, then
sets it aside in a bowl. When he's cooked all four portions of all
ingredients, we have one large blue bowl full of the cooked burrito
contents. The sous chef washes, dries, and puts away all other no
longer used equipment and cooking utensils.
Laying out the twenty now warm tortillas from the oven on every inch of
counter space we can find, he piles an equal amount of the burrito
contents onto each tortilla with a ladling spoon, then rolls and folds
the tortillas around it. He carefully wraps each burrito in a sheet of
wax paper (which I tore off along the box's serrated edge while he was
piling the burrito contents onto the tortillas). We place two wrapped
burritos into each ziplock bag.
I wash and dry the large blue bowl and the ladling spoon, then put them
away and clean the stove top. There's now nothing at all
left in the sink or on the kitchen counter except for the ten ziplock
bags containing two of
burritos each. The place is immaculate, impeccable. We put the ten
ziplock bags into the
close the door, then whoop with delight and high five each
Cook with your children. It really doesn't matter what you
cook with them ... as long as you cook with them.