Patch was in charge of the family activity and he decided we would all go together to the grocery store to buy ice cream. Howard had a public event, so I loaded the kids into the car and we headed to the store. Five people, five agendas, the potential for conflict was high. Patch wanted an ice cream cone. Gleek wanted one of those too, but she also wanted to bring her money and buy some candy. Link was along for the ride. Kiki was not thrilled to be going, but acquiesced because she knows that family activities are important. I had a list of groceries to acquire before going home. It being Monday night and therefore a common night for family activities, the ice cream line was long. I could see sibling conflict brewing, sure to burst out momentarily. Then I had one of those moments of parental brilliance.
“Link, I’m sending you on a quest. Go get Cheerios.” Then I turned to Kiki “I want you to go get pickles.” My two teenagers brightened up and went to search the store for these items. Gleek went off on her own quest to the candy aisle. Patch stayed with me to patiently await ice cream. And so it went for the next 15 minutes. Slowly Patch and I inched toward the front of the line, slowly the cart filled with quest items. As an added bonus, Kiki and Link were learning some shopping skills. We acquired the necessary ice cream and headed to the check out.
As family activities go, this one was a win.