Yesterday afternoon a friend needed a favor. Many people don’t understand that a writer who works from a home office is actually working. It’s like a regular job. But the truth is, one of the reasons I chose to do this was because I wanted to be available to my friends. Busy-ness in life can pull us away from too much that’s important. So when she asked me to pick up her son when his morning kindergarten class concluded, I said yes.
The next thing I wondered was what I could do so his afternoon wouldn’t be totally spent with a computer game in his hands. His mom told me he would be happy to sit quietly and play with his device, but I just don’t have it in me to sit a child in front of technology, be it computer or television, to occupy themselves for an afternoon. So we made bread. Children love Play Doh and what is so different about kneading bread?
A child can help with more than you might imagine if you’ve never cooked with a little one. Although he readily admitted he would rather play in mud than take a bath, my assistant didn’t even mind washing his hands for the task. He happily helped me gather ingredients then measure them into the bowl. We mixed the ingredients then I explained that the yeast in the bread would make it get puffy but in order for that to happen, we had to knead it. He helped me spread flour on the counter, put some on his hands then we cleaned the bowl of dough and began to knead. When you think about it, kneading isn’t difficult. “Fold it then squish it I,” I said, after demonstrating. He complied with his seriousness.
By the time we were done, he had turned into a flour-covered boy. With a five-year-old, though, even beating the flour off his jeans wasn’t a problem. It was all an adventure. And he’ll tell you it was more fun than a video game.