I swore…

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?

14 thoughts on “I swore…

  1. Thanks for the comments. My addiction is Diet Pepsi. So I sympathize with your Mountain Dew fixation 😉
    My boys are too young to be doing much organized activity. We’ve done zoos and festivals and such with Pierce, but that’s about it.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Emergency Council Meeting =-.

  2. We’ve encouraged our son to get involved with things, but he’s reluctant. The almost four year old girl child? Who knows what she will be into or not.

    My mom kind of “forced” me into piano lessons, dance lessons, etc., so I don’t push too hard. If they’re into their extracurricular activities, I think that’s great!
    .-= Evil Twin’s Wife´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  3. Nothing heavy. A couple played T-ball, one was in gymnastics for a year or so. They were never into organized sports until Mousey started swimming in 7th grade! That is almost UNHEARD of in our community!

    Unfortunately for The Ab-Cat, she participated in the grueling sport of physical therapy for about 7 years. Good times.

    I agree that playing and exploring are invaluable. Time will tell if the kids will say that they regret not having participated. It was their own choice though.

    I know SO many parents that don’t know if they are coming or going. I wouldn’t want that kind of life!
    .-= Capri Kel´s last blog ..Way Back When-sday =-.

  4. We’re still feeling our way around to find the proper mix of up time and down time. I am determined though, not to lose track of my life because of all of the running that we /could/ do. Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts folks

  5. I had different activities that I did as a kid and I would certainly love Lily to do the same things. But I have told myself if she doesn’t want to then I am not going to make her. I guess in the past year we have experimented. She has played two seasons of soccer and really enjoyed it both times. Last spring we tried baseball but that didn’t go over to well. Too much yelling. I think I enjoyed watching her more than she wanted to play. Today we are trying gymnastics. She actually told me she wanted to do cheerleading which she got as an idea from the neighbor kids. Well I convinced her gymnastics was a good base for cheering. She has been doing headstands and forward rolls at home and is willing to do it everyday. So I figured it was time for real instruction and interaction with other girls. I am somewhat nervous and it is quite expensive too. We’ll see how it goes.

    Do you allow them to do more than one thing at a time? I don’t know if we can do gymnastics and soccer.

    Oh we did get a flyer from the YMCA for basketball. She said she wanted to go to the Y. I asked her if she liked playing basketball and she said no. She didn’t like getting hot and sweaty. I figure there is more time later for her to learn if she gets interested.

  6. We only started the activities once the kids expressed an interest and then kept bugging us about it. Too much time and money to spend on a whim. The kids really like everything they are involved in. My only complaint is that we have yet to sit down and eat a meal at home this week. Maybe Friday all the schedules will align and we can make it happen!

  7. Our kids are nearly 18, 15 and 11. When all three of them were involved in some ‘outside the backyard’ activity—they were kept to one activity a piece. That way we weren’t chasing our tails all the time, trying to get to the next activity. As it was, we were often separated when the boys both played soccer. Of course, they never had a game anywhere near one another and sometimes not even on the same day. The only part of soccer that I don’t like is—the day belongs to it. Arrive an hour early to warm up, at some location that might be an hour away. Then 40+ minutes of play. Then drive an hour home. If it falls mid-day, then we really can’t do anything before or after the game.
    .-= Ceecee´s last blog ..The Color Purple =-.

  8. My parents put me in modern dance when I was six as a fun way to correct a perceived clumsiness. It didn’t work so the next year they tried art lessons which I adored and continued until I graduated from high school. They didn’t work either but I had a great time. My daughter decided to be a ballerina when she was three which I thought was preposterous but found local lessons she could start at four. Instant passion. But I knew how many things could interfere with such a strenuous activity so at about age eight I had her start piano lessons. She was not enthralled and sure enough knee problems ended her ballet career in middle school. We then started our own history group for kids at local museum (costumed reenacting included) which was a fantastic activity until jobs, cars, etc. distracted the kids and we disbanded in senior year. I guess I leaned that you can take a horse to water… don’t push but offer and if your kid isn’t athletically enthusiastic and there isn’t anything else start a group.(We tried scouting but, like my own experience, it became a dysfunctional social group with no meaningful activities.)

  9. It’s funny…as I look back on it, the only thing I really wish I had done was take music lessons. All the other stuff is pretty meaningless now. I don’t have many opportunities to play soccer or go rappelling or climbing…but I could always play an instrument. Interesting. Well, we’ll see how things roll. We won’t push the kids into anything but will offer lots of options I suppose.

  10. I drug my brats, kicking and screaming, to everything I wanted them to do…like family get togethers, fishing, hunting and camping. And let them drag me kicking and screaming to all of the things they wanted to do…Brownies, girl scouts, baseball, T-ball, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, band, etc., etc,….
    Hey, it all worked out, and we even hear from them every now and then.
    .-= Gary Dillon´s last blog ..Eagle Day =-.

  11. I’ve been telling the kids one organized sport at a time for each of them – so they both did soccer (and 4-H which is really flexible in our area) and then Jessie decided to try basketball this winter, which is a blast so far. It will be interesting when spring soccer starts up in April and then Tyler wants to try tball this year. Hopefully it won’t get too hectic:)

  12. I will always enjoy kids activities… nice post by the way. Keeping that childlike heart is so important, especially with kids of your own.

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