Here's hoping you've shaken the dust off another holiday season in good form. It's a whirl-wind time period which has just passed us. From November through New Year's Day it seems like we're all running scattered and hurried in our daily living.January upon us and a long winter season ahead, the older I get the more I enjoy the sense of calm these first few months of the year have to offer.

We're spending more time indoors now and as a result, with some time off during the week between the holidays, I recalled a few things that put me in a playful mood. When you're inside more, everyone can get, to use the common word, a bit 'rammy.'

I'm raising boys. Despite what we hear today about 'hazing' and 'teasing' our kids as being abusive and hurtful, I firmly believe that this doesn't include good old-fashioned 'horseplay.' I grew up with two older brothers and a dad who loved getting on the floor and wrestling with his sons. I look back at how I grew up with great fondness.

W e ' v e become a society of people who are so easily offended that if we so much as lay a finger on someone it's as if we've committed a capital crime. There's a term for every behavioral trait.

We need to lighten up and not take ourselves and others so seriously.

Like so many of us I got together with my family over the holidays, which for my clan includes my youngest son's birthday. So we all spent a lot of time together over the recent end-of-year break.

I used the time to turn off the electronics (as much as I could-the boys got a fresh crop of Wii games and were anxious to play along with this crazy rock band kit).

Instead of watching television we talked about what their plans are for 2009. We relaxed and on more than a few occasions I started tossing them around. Don't call the county on me just yet, because we all had fun.

Initially the boys whined but it wasn't long before they retaliated and we got started on a good old-fashioned horseplay rumble.

Horseplay is an art. Someone should write a book about it.

My brother Sam taught me well, giving me great techniques to instill tortuous fun into jostling around with my sons.

At the time I loved wrestling my older brother and my dad. Although I often complained to mom (a stunt designed to get them in trouble), I always looked forward to the time and tussles with my dad and my brother.

Today I cherish the time in which I can play practical jokes, wrestle with and just toss around my sons. I like it on a lot of levels.

It's time I believe they'll remember. I like the fact that right now I am stronger than both of them (put together, as well as individually). They know dad can't win many wrestling matches but I can still take them down!

The day will come when I have to throw in the towel. That day isn't today and tomorrow isn't looking good either.

I also think horseplay is good for kids because it shows that adults who are too often serious and sometimes downright depressing can actually throw caution to the wind, get down on their level and have some fun just goofing off.

If you're wondering how to start I can give you a few pointers. E-mail my blog with your question and I'll do my best to answer it.

Let me be clear that I am not advocating abuse or physical harm-quite the opposite. All I'm suggesting is that we learn to have more fun-family fun-and that it starts with remembering how it was when you were a kid. Hopefully along the way, when you were young, you had an older brother, sibling or dad who took the time to get down on your level and wrestle.

I was fortunate (odd as that sounds sometimes) to have a brother who tortured me and antagonized me. Just typing this gives me a smile because it was a lot of fun and a time I think of fondly.

I get to bring back that old feeling once again in raising my brood.

So make this a January and February to remember. Before the spring thaw take your inside activity to a new level: down on the floor, where you can wrestle and toss your kids around. Be careful, and just make sure you clear the furniture out of the area so no one takes out a corner. Parents should have a talk with kids and set boundaries also, although I find this one amusing. To my sons this pretty much means they can do whatever they want to me, which is fine. I always get my digs in.

Have fun this winter season and as always, we'll start the New Year the same way we ended the last one. See 'ya around town.

David DiRenzo is General Sales Manager for WHAT AM 1340 in Philadelphia. He lives in the Quakertown area. He can be contacted via e-mail at jpopichak@berksmontnews.com

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