Just Driving Around, Learning Some Life Lessons

Ugh!  It is only Thursday.  Why can’t Friday just get here already?  This does not sound like something that should be said during summer vacation.  What is going on?

This week has been filled from start to finish with stuff on the schedule and I am not happy about any of it.  The Joy of Summer is that the wall calendar is basically empty, with the exception of “AT THE BEACH” that extended as far as I could stretch it and some doodles that I drew to keep it colorful and fill in the blank spaces.

But this week has been very un-summery because of the jam-packed schedule and non-stop driving around.  Kid A has thirty plus hours of driving school and Kid B has soccer camp.  And the drop off and pick up times have made it next to impossible for the rest of us to do anything for more than twenty whole minutes before having to get back into the car again.  In scheduling these two things I knew it would be the case, so I also decided to throw in a few other necessary appointments and check-ups, just to get it all over with at once.  The end result is that this week has felt like a punch in the face.

Last week we were doing nothing more than catching up on our Good Luck Charlie episodes and lounging at the pool.  We were all total slackers when it comes to meals and showers and going to bed.  We were just chillin’ and loving every minute of it.

This week I have to make sure that the clocks get reset every time the power goes out because I actually need to know what time it is.  And I keep almost running out of gas in my car.  I have been planning meals and enforcing bedtimes.  I feel like I am one “Did you finish your book report?” away from it being the school year.  Yuck.

One of the only fun things about all of the driving around is that the kids will usually request that we watch a movie while we do it.  Once we all agree on something then we just pick up where we left off each time we get back in the car.  This week, in honor of Kid B’s activity, we have been running Kicking & Screaming, starring Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall.  And let me tell you, that is one funny film with some really great quotes…

Mike Ditka: Coffee is the lifeblood that fuels the dreams of champions.

Buck Weston: I take a vitamin everyday. It’s called a steak.

It is a movie about a family man who has been living in his dad’s ultra-competitive shadow all his life.  He ends up coaching his own kid’s soccer team (along with Da Bears coach, Mike Ditka, as his assistant) and eventually he starts acting all crazy – just like his dad – when it comes to the championship.  In the end he learns that having fun and trying your best are more important than winning.

Screeeeeeeeeeech.  Wait, what?  I hate when movies that start out all awesome end with such lame lessons in the end.  I mean, don’t be a jerk to your kids if they don’t come home with the gold, but encourage them to win a little.  Or a lot.  Just provide them with unconditional love even when they lose.  You’re not doing anybody any favors by teaching them that nobody really needs to keep score.

Maybe I’m extra negative because I’ve been driving around in traffic all week, or maybe I’m just grouchy because of the unnatural scheduling issue I’m dealing with in the middle of my lovely summer, but that just pisses me off.  Are you telling me that I am paying all of this money and spending all of this time and committing all of my resources so that my kids can have a good time?  What about preparing them for the future in the real world?  The one where they need to get a good education so they can get a good job and make a positive difference.  The one where some people win and some people lose.

I realize that they make family movies that are all happy and fun and nice, but our kids are learning from these movies.  It can be and has been done right before.  Take the movie, The Incredibles, for example.  Now that movie has a very well articulated message about the downside of letting everybody think they’re special.

Mr. Incredible: You mean you killed off real heroes so that you could *pretend* to be one?
Syndrome: Oh, I’m real. Real enough to defeat you! And I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super…
[chuckles evilly]
Syndrome: – no one will be.

All right.  It is about time that I have to get back into the car to pick somebody up from somewhere.  But before I get back into the car I am going to switch out the DVD and run something that teaches some more realistic life lessons.  Hey kids, who’s up for some Varsity Blues?

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

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