« Topic Day: Children of the Recession | Main | Uncertain Times: Children and Recession »

May 26, 2009

In a recession filled with "No's" finding a "Yes!" for children.

Miss Lori During this time of economic uncertainty and desperation one word has become a frequent fixture in children’s lives, “no”. Our children are hearing it from us all the time. “No” you can’t have that toy, “No” we can’t afford that camp this year, “No” there isn’t enough money for a new outfit today. Our children are hearing “no” so often they are beginning to forget what the word “yes” means.

My family and I just returned from a return engagement in Cincinnati at the Zoo. While I was there I received emails from parents who came to see my show last year, but couldn’t come this year because the cost of admission to the Zoo was more than they could handle during this recession. It broke their heart to have to say “No” to their children, but there was nothing else for them to do. The money just wasn’t there.

I am not immune to this either. I live a public life, but I exist in private shame over my own economic situation. My children ask “I don’t understand Mommy, why can’t I get ice cream after school, everyone else gets one?” “Why can’t we go out to dinner too, everyone else is?” “Why can’t I just get a toy, it’s really little?” But the hardest question is “Why do you seem so angry Mommy?” I am not angry at them of course, but I am angry at the situation, and at myself. This is not the way I envisioned raising my kids. My recollection of my own childhood was that my parents were always able to give me what I needed, and in many ways what I wanted growing up. We weren’t rich, I knew that, but I don’t recall being limited. So it breaks my heart to have to continually say “no” to my children. It makes me feel as though I am failing as a parent.

As I lay here thinking about tomorrow, and the mounting pile of bills that need my attention, I am overwhelmed with sadness about the many “No’s” that will have to come from me this week. So with this topic day from the SV Moms Group I am challenged to contribute what I can to make tomorrow a better day, not just for me and my children, but for as many families out there as I can So, I thought that I would look for ways that parents like me can say “Yes” for a change. There are a number of entertainment and recreation opportunities available to families this Summer that are actually FREE! As always a great resource is the park district. Here in Chicago we have a fantastic network of parks with free use of swimming pools, splash parks, water play-lands and playgrounds. As well, our Chicago Park District offers free movie nights in various parks from June to September. All you have to do is log on for the schedule.

Museums are another great source for family entertainment. Here in Chicago our fantastic group of museums such as The Shedd Aquarium, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Field Museum and Adler Planetarium to name a few, offer a number of free days. recently the CAMPUS Kids and I helped kick off a brand new Target sponsorship at The Chicago Children's Museum. They are now offering first free Sunday's for children and their families. Of course they are continuing to offer their Kraft Free family nights every Thursday. These museums a great escape from the Chicago Summer heat and offer a wonderful opportunity for you and your child to learn and explore together.

A number of businesses also are recognizing the need for families to have a chance to escape during these troubled times; a chance to say “yes” and get away from the stress of everyday life. Regal Cinemas is offering free movie nights nationwide. They have launched a Free Family Film Festival. Selected G & PG movies start at 10AM each Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. First-come, first-served seating is limited to theatre capacity. The Free Family Film Festival is safe, lots of fun and a great way for kids to spend a weekday morning in the summer. Tickets for our 2009 Free Family Film Festival are exclusively available at select theatres’ box office on the day of the show.

And what about bowling? That is a great family pastime. I know my family used to do it quite regularly when I was growing up. My kids and I truly enjoy bowling together, however we haven’t done it very often recently because it’s cost prohibitive with our family of 5. Now we can hit a lane for free. Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the first ever “Kids Bowl Free” program. The program has been designed by bowling centers to give back to the community and provide a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this Summer. Children whose age does not exceed a limit by a participating bowling center are eligible to register for 2 free games a day, all summer long, courtesy of the participating bowling centers along with the schools and organizations.

Despite my own situation as a parent, I am trying everyday to pay forward good grace. Last year I teamed up with WTTW PBS-Chicago to offer live events to the public for FREE. After completing 25 dates last Summer and another 25 dates this Winter, my company Miss Lori’s CAMPUS will perform 46 FREE shows around the Chicago land area this Summer alone. With my AWESOME Health concert as a part of The Great Food Fan Van Tour and my Playstory Time Show at Readers are Leaders dates there are plenty of opportunities for families to enjoy each other’s company and gain some great information about reading readiness and nutrition.

I know what it is like to have to say “No,” so I am helping other parents say “Yes,” just as I hope that someone will do for me and my children. Parenting in a vacuum, as many of us have been doing in this fast paced World, doesn’t work in times of strife such as these. Our children are suffering in this recession just as we are.  If we can reach out to each other as a community, TOGETHER we can find more ways to say “Yes”!  “Yes” to fun. “Yes” to opportunity. “Yes” to hope that tomorrow will be a better day. As our president says, “Yes, WE Can!”


Miss Lori

This is an original post to Chicago Moms Blog. You can find Miss Lori "Musing from her Minivan" at her new blogsite MissLori.TV, as well as on ChicagoMomsBlog, facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Myspace and her own performance website Miss Lori's CAMPUS.


Archive - Chicago Moms Blog

Lijit Search