Wrapping up 2011…and Figuring out my Bananas, Bunnies, and Clementines for 2012

The other day, my older daughter was wrapped up in her world of new, cool electronic gadgetry that found purchase in our home over the holidays. It’s a tough balance as a parent trying to figure out how much screen time is “right” for an eleven year old. I am not in the camp that says a kid should just self-regulate. I think that children do not have enough foresight or awareness of the passage of time to do this.

(Of course, many adults are also unable to do this, but that’s another story!)

Back to this story.

So, once again, I prepared to launch into a lecture. She rolls her eyes…and I shift gears. I go into the kitchen, grab a quart sized mason jar, a banana, a clementine, a pint’s worth of dried beans, and a small stuffed bunny.

Now, perhaps you have seen the demo where they take a jar or a vase and have to stick a bunch of different sized balls (marbles, ping, pong balls, whatever). The challenge is to fill the jar with all of the objects. Most people trying this will put the smallest objects into the container. This doesn’t work.  It’s a metaphor for time management. I found this cute clip on youtube — love that they use M&M’s

So, I made my eleven year old attempt to stick the banana, the clementine, the bunny, and the beans into the jar. I told her that the banana was all the stuff she needed to learn. The clementine was the work she needed to do to grow her special talents and gifts. The bunny is joy and exercise. The beans are things like playing video games, listening to CDs, goofing off, email, etc…

She started by trying to stick in the banana first. It didn’t fit.

Now, did I mention that I just randomly grabbed stuff? I mean, really, I just grabbed it without pre-measuring.

But I had a brilliant solution. “Yes. Sometimes you have really big things you need to fit into your day and they must be divided into manageable sizes.” And I sliced the banana into three chunks.

“Try again.”

This time, she placed the beans in first. The rest of the stuff wouldn’t fit on top. “It won’t work, Mom!” Eyes were rolling. Again.

So, I showed her. First you put in your banana chunks with your clementine. Then you slide the bunny in and fill in the beans around everything. The amazing thing is that it all fit perfectly — I could not have squeezed in a single bean. Pretty good for randomness, right?

The eleven year old rolled her eyes some more. Her sister (age 5) found this really funny. “That bunny is all squished up with beans and bananas!”

The point was made. The banana and clementine were eaten by the five year old.

But what, you ask, does this have to do with Puppet-A-Day?

Well, it’s all about time management, right? Gosh that’s a hard one for us self-employed and creative types with kids. Or that’s my excuse anyway. I want 2012 to be a year of big rocks (taking care of my family, my business, my creative self…) first. We’ll see if we can get the blog back to a medium rock status…working on it!

And if you would like ro read more, I found the original story on another blog. Read away — and Happy New Year!

With, of course, lots of M&M’s filling in all the extra spaces.

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