Flagging social skills

Last night we had a couple friends over for dinner – no children, just adults. Our kids are getting better and better at being polite during these meals. They interrupt less frequently, listen to what others are saying, and don’t try to monopolize the conversation.

But I can tell that it’s hard for them, especially for the recently-turned-five-year old.

After we finished eating, we released them from the tyranny of the table. They ran off to play while the adults continued chatting.

About half an hour later, I spotted the five-year old in the living room. There weren’t any lights on, so the room was dark, but he didn’t care. He was standing on the little trampoline, one American flag in each hand. As I watched, he swung one flag in a big circle, watching it flap in the darkness. Eyes wide, he waved the other one around his head. Then he swung them both in big circles going the opposite direction from each other.

He laughed and took a few tentative hops on the trampoline while he swung the flags, then incorporated some twirls and bigger jumps. Soon he was jumping and spinning in the dark room, flags flapping all around him in complicated patterns.

By now, of course, the conversation at the dinner table had died down, as the rest of the adults joined me in watching the little guy. He continued to leap and spin and wave, completely wrapped up in his imagination.

“Two flags and a trampoline,” someone said. “What more could anyone want?”

“Isn’t that the truth,” someone else answered.

Just one more thing, I realized later as I hopped on the trampoline and waved the flags in the darkness. You need to be able to forget what you’re doing and just lose yourself in the motions.

I highliy recommend it.

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