Recently while I was in Canada speaking at a conference my wife posted on facebook that the pressure was on her to be “as fun as daddy” while I was away. Well. She pulled out the stops and took Luke to a Monster Truck Rally! Something even I have never done, and it’s all Luke’s been talking about every ten minutes for days on end! I may have trouble getting back on the “funnest parent pedestal.” Go Mom!
One of the highlights of the Monster Jam was the Mega-Saurus. This mechanical beast that came out breathing fire and literally chewed a car in half! It was almost more than my six year old’s brain could handle!
He came home saying, “Daddy, I wish you had a Mega-Saurus for my toy cars.” So, I answered. “Why, of course I have a Mega-Saurus! Every self-respecting dad has a Mega-Saurus! What kind of father would I be, if I didn’t have a Mega-Saurus in the garage?”
His eyes about popped out of his head! “YOU h-h-h-have a Mega-Saurus?” He stuttered?
“Of course I have a Mega-Saurus. Do you have some cars you would like to cut in half?” (Perhaps I could regain my funnest parent status after all!)
I headed toward the garage with my six year old in tow; he was practically stepping on my heels he was so eager to see my Mega-Saurus! I grabbed my Mega-Saurus, and also the Vice so that we could flatten some cars for his new Monster Trucks to drive and jump over, and headed up to his play room.
Once at this Car Table (Luke has a Car Table instead of a train table) my Mega-Saurus came out from under the table breathing fire and proceeded to chew through two of his older cars. He was beside himself with delight.
We next used the vice to squish six cars (I had to set a limit or he’d have had to flatten ’em all this week!) so his Monster Trucks could drive over some destroyed cars!
Never once in the entire process did Luke mention that my “Mega-Saurus” was anything less than the real thing. Why? Because I was pretending with him. Of course it was real. His cars are real, the crashes are real, the noises he is making from the engines are real – the dirt he sees flying off the wheels (that isn’t there) is real. Just as real as my “Mega-Saurus.” After all, my Mega-Sauraus did come up from under the table making monstrous noises before it devoured those two poor cars!
When you join your kids in their imaginative play, you enter their world and you create a love bond that is beyond description. They know it is play – but they see that you are joining them, and it is more powerful and effective that a hundred “I love you’s” because it is how they want to be shown love.
I know all too soon Luke will be too old for toy cars… he’ll just want the keys to my car. But by then there will be things I’ll want to share with him, warnings and instructions and I want to have a foundation of Mega-Love. And it starts today with not being too busy to chew some toy cars in half.
What Mega-Saurus can you bring to life? The result will be a some Mega-Love shown to your kid.