A group of six-year-olds taught me the about power of networking this weekend.
After work on Friday, I get a text from my wife asking if I had the phone number of one of the parents in Malachy’s class. I asked her why she needed it and she texted back, “Wondering if they are around tomorrow or Sunday — the kids planned a secret meeting – LOL.” I couldn’t wait for her and Malachy to come back from Karate class to explain what was going on. They got a ride back from one of Malachy’s Karate classmates, who is also in his class at school and part of the secret meeting club. Shien tells me that his classmate’s mom told her during Karate class, that her daughter told her after school that she HAD TO pick up 3 other friends tomorrow and drive them to our place, so they could have their secret meeting. A designated chauffeur! Shien immediately started texting and e-mailing the other parents to see if they knew or heard anything about it. I’ve never heard of these Emergency Play Dates (EPDs) disguised as secret meetings before, and I was intrigued. The kids were so certain that it was going to happen, and now, it looked like it was going to happen!
Of course, when I first asked Malachy, he says, “I can’t tell you what it’s about Dad. It’s a SECRET meeting.” I could tell that the wheels immediately started spinning in his head after he said that out loud to me, because we agreed that there were to be no kept secrets from Mom and Dad… EVER. He paused and said, “You know, Dad. I told you about it before. It’s about the Fighting Club.” Ah yes, the Fighting Club or the Fight Stoppers Club. He and a few other of his classmates were tired of the play fighting and conflicts that occurred during recess. Sometimes, they were the ones being bothered while playing together, so they started helping each other out and would try to help others in need of mediation or consolation, too. Amazing.
So, after a few more texts and e-mails, it was all arranged. 1PM Saturday at our playground. They met… and they PLAYED for 3 hours! I stopped by the playground to check up on them, and there they were with all their socks and shoes off, one on each swing. They said they were trying to climb the rainbow sprinkler poles, and it was easier without shoes. It was about an hour into their play, and I asked if they had their meeting yet. Not yet. I asked the other parents about it, and they were telling me how they would always tell them about the seriousness and importance of these meetings after school sometimes (i.e., playing in the playground), and they would talk about needing to meet during the “meeting,” but they never really had “the meeting!” When the parents said it was time to go, they would then say, “But we haven’t had our meeting yet!” GENIUS. Our kids often hear about us adults telling them that we have have to go to meetings. They know we need to talk through things and discuss things. They get it. Our kids sense the importance of them, and the message is very clear from them, too. Kids play is IMPORTANT. Kids need to meet. Kids need to connect. Kids need to network. Kids need time to PLAY, and it’s SO much better without the disruptions. It’s so awesome that they have created this safe place and group for themselves.
When Shien and Malachy came back three hours later, I asked how the meeting went, and he said it was good. I asked him if they came to any big decisions or ideas during their meeting, and he said, “Yes. We decided to create BIG obstacles, so the people trying to bother us won’t be able to get to us.” I wanted to ask how they were planning on doing that, but I guess that’ll take another secret meeting or two in the future. They do all the organizing, and we the adults are there to… 😉