Go Outside and Play.

Although video games didn’t come along until later, my sons grew up with computers in the house.

One taught himself to type after he got annoyed that I introduced too many errors into a game program I was trying to enter into the computer for him.

A Shell gas station near Lost Hills, Californi...

A Shell gas station near Lost Hills, California, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One taught himself to type when he realized that the faster he could type the bigger advantage he had in a computer game he liked to play.

So, they could certainly entertain themselves in the house.

One beautiful day, I decided my younger son, then in elementary school, enjoyed the house too much and told him he had to go outside and play.

A few days later, my truck died on the way home from work.

By the time I was able to get someone to stop and help, it started up again and I made it home.

Three days later, the same thing happened. We had it towed to our favorite gas station, which analyzed the problem.

We paid for the part and labor and I was on my way again.

Over the next two weeks, I started planning my trips so that I would be near my gas station when the truck died again, which continued to happen about every three days.

Sometimes, the truck would start again, mysteriously, as soon as the mechanic tried it.

Sometimes, they would tell us the bad news about another part that had to be replaced.

Several repair jobs later, my frustrated husband asked the mechanic why they couldn’t identify what was clearly a fuel-line problem because they had repaired everything else.

An hour later, the mechanic called.

“Do you have any children in your house?”

“Yes, why?”

“Someone has stuffed cherry seeds in the gas tank.

“Over a period of time, they are sucked up until they clog the fuel line.

“Then, after about an hour of sitting, they fall back down and everything is fine until they get sucked up again.

“I’ve cleaned them out.”

It was time to have a conversation with my son, who was in the truck with me the first time this had happened.

“If you don’t tell me what happened, you will be in WAAAY more trouble if I find out later that you did this and lied to me about it.”

“Did you stuff cherry seeds in the gas tank of my truck?”


“When the truck died on the highway, didn’t it occur to you that that might be the problem?”


“Why did you do it?”

“I was mad at you because you made me go play outside.”

I imposed an age-appropriate penalty, probably being grounded for a month.

His son now helps me build dams and swim in the creek behind our house and goes fishing and gardens with his grandfather.

Did your children enjoy playing outside?

Do your grandchildren?

What do you like to do outside with your grandchildren?

To you and enjoying the beautiful outdoors with your grandchildren.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers


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