Quiet Night in a House of Boys – Some Secrets for Sanity

Sometimes I forget how civilized my boys are actually. I forget amid the mud and noise, bruises, scraps and yelling. Then I take a little trip to the Library on my lunch break, bring home a pile of books about motorcycles, airplanes and wild animals, and Voila, They are happily contained all through dinner prep!

This morning, on the way to work, I heard a news story about the city of Baltimore and their program for renovating vacant buildings. It was such an inspiring story about good old American Ingenuity, a down and out community pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and changing their stars.

To plan for this serious future, Baltimore needs to attract people who are actually dreamers, those who are able to envision a different version of the city, even without a pair of rose-colored glasses.

Just last night, I was thinking about the artists and poets who have helped shape civilizations. Then I heard a story and truly a call for artists, dreamers and visionaries to help a community rebuild.

We talked about visionaries at the dinner table last night. We talked about pioneers, and people who create change in the world because they can see how things could be better. They start out daydreaming about how to build something that will do the job better, and end up sketching out a plan, bringing others into their dream, making lists, designing, maybe building a prototype or a scale version, working out the kinks, and forging ahead to solve a problem. Maybe its an invention like the dishwasher that makes a job easier, maybe its a design to grind wheat on a bigger scale than one person using two stones.

We started throwing out ideas, and some of the inventions and inventors names we know. Each of them started with a dream inside their head, inside their mind and heart. Each of them was a visionary with a big dream who knew if they could just create something like what they were seeing inside their imaginations, they could change the world.

My boys were pushing out their chests, thumbs right here, “That’s me, Mom!” It’s true. They are visionaries and dreamers, artists, creators and inventors, and they may well change the world.

Then we built houses of cards to show them how patient we have to be to build something that will last, how much calm and quiet and focus it takes, how many failures we have to endure along the way, and how gratifying it can be when we succeed after all those failed attempts. Also, it was Math Night, and architecture and engineering with geometric ideas seemed to fit, sort of.

At one point, we were all frustrated because we couldn’t even really get started. Just making the first two cards stand up was a challenge.

We stopped and watched a YouTube video of the world champion card stacker and his model of the Beijing Olympic Village made of cards.

We came back with renewed resolve to accomplish some sort of small success in our own creations. Of course, it was Ben who was able to get more than one little layer to stay put.

After some stories and snuggles and getting the kids into bed, my husband and I realized it was the quietest night we could recall. We had a lot of fun, but it was doing very quiet, focused, rather intense concentration stuff, and it was wonderfully restful.



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