One Saturday in July the children were home alone with their mom. Frustrated with her kids' perceived inability to communicate or mobilize, she confiscated all their ipods, phones, computers, kindles, ipads and i-hoo-haa's and declared a Gadget Free Day.
The troops protested, threatened to tell their dad, and even refused to go and get their hair cut as planned. (And they had really shaggy hair.)
The mother let the kids steam and stew and troop back up to their rooms. She waited. About 45 minutes later, one of her daughters came downstairs and asked if she could build a tree swing.
Yes, the mom swallowed. She had no clue how to make a tree swing. After a few deep breaths and a survey of the basement, the raw materials began to emerge. There was sawing, drilling, knot making, and testing of the hemlock branch. A monkey climbed the tree to secure the ropes. With many knotting iterations, the seat was finally level. The swing worked!
They all shared the satisfaction of working together and building something with their own hands. And no one asked for an I-pod for the rest of the day.