Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Are Adults for, after All?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Are Adults for, after All?

Article excerpt

THERE'S rarely a happier moment than when those family members in the 9-to-10 age range discover adult proficiency.

The reason probably is that most grown-up activities are taken for granted. You know - driving a car, fixing a blown fuse, unclogging a stuck drain, getting rid of lawn gophers, mounting a basketball hoop in the driveway, locating mislaid schoolbooks, remembering birthdays, setting up allowances vis-a-vis chores, repairing bike chains, mending torn backpacks. There's just a host of adult activities like these that go on all the time. That's the way it is. And that's probably what adults are for, if anyone in the 9-to-10 age group stops to think about it.

It doesn't occur - especially to those 9- or 10-year olds - that there may be other hidden (and even more glamorous) accomplishments to be found in family adults. No one asks; no one finds out. But sometimes these come out as a surprise.

An experience we had was like that.

We live in a temperate climate - little and only occasional snow, temperatures rarely below 35 degrees, some rain, some intermittent winter sunshine. Consequently, we have only outdoor sports that fit the climate. To ski, alpine or cross-country, you go up into the mountains. Lakes, ponds, creeks, and streams near us never gloss over with shoreline ice crystals, much less freeze solid all the way across. So nobody here can even talk about outdoor ice skating.

That's why it was a real novelty when a new indoor ice rink opened in the vicinity. One of the first groups to sign up for participation was the Girl Scout troop to which our 9- to 10-year-olds belonged.

SHORTLY before the scheduled time to use the rink, there was a problem. More adults were needed to drive cars, more adults were needed to bring the sandwiches and hot chocolate for afterward, and more adults were needed to organize the individual assessments for the rink expense.

We said we'd go. (There was an unasked question in the air: What are adults for?) We said we might even skate a little. …

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