When we were first married, we declared, as self-righteous, young, newlywed folks often do, that we would live our lives differently than folks who are so busy they don’t have time to sit down and enjoy the good stuff of life. We swore we would not do what other people do. When the kids were younger, we had little trouble in keeping their time free for things they wanted to do. Most of what we did was about what they wanted to do for fun, which happened to line up with the whole “live simply” thing I had in mind. They played outside on the swings and rode bikes. It was so simple and perfect.
Of course, they are getting older and are influenced by all sorts of things around them. They still like to play outside and ride bikes, but now they also want to take lessons…taekwondo and aikido and ice skating and violin and archery and soccer. We are becoming scheduled. At first, I was sort of irritated about it and thought that we surely must be ruining our kids by running them all over creation to do this and that. But now that we’ve been at it for a little while, I look at it differently. Just as it was about what the kids wanted to do for fun, so it is now. Fun is just different.
To be sure, I definitely think that kids and parents can become over-scheduled and over-stressed, but I think if the cards are played right (as I hope we are doing), being involved is an opportunity for kids to explore. It’s not exploring like they did in the back yard, but it is exploring the world in a way. Taekwondo is taught by a Korean master. Soccer is coached by a former professional player from the African continent. They are finding what they like and don’t like but they are also seeing a larger world while they are at it.
When I think about it, I enjoy seeing the kids explore and learn and grow. We still play together, albeit differently. We can laugh and talk and enjoy things…just different things than just the back yard. So, in a way, I sort of long for “just the back yard” but it is thrilling to also be a part of all of us going “out there” too.
So what about it…do you enjoy kids’ activities or is it too much? What sorts of things do your people do?