07 November 2008

WHY do we do it?

Or more importantly, why do we feel a NEED to do it? "IT" is over scheduling our kids. I know four and five year olds who are in football leagues, hockey leagues, soccer leagues, baseball leagues, swimming lessons, music lessons, and still have to go to school, sneak in time with their parents, and fit in church and Sunday school. Does this seem ridiculous to anyone else? And it only seems to get worse the older they get. Since when have we decided to let our children turn into little adults with palm pilots and cell phones so they can manage their schedules? Are we trying to fill a void somewhere in our own lives and sacraficing their innocence to do it? Are we afraid we aren't enough, and that simply "being" with them is inferior to filling up their lives with crap? Does it make us better parents and them better children? Since when have we decided to not let them just be kids? Is it my imagination, or do they not have the rest of their lives to crowd up with this junk?

I have heard the argument, "Well, little Timmy WANTS to do x, y, and z!". And all I can come up with (and I know this seems insanely logical, so get ready), what kid doesn't want to play 50 sports, and learn 50 new skills. Everything is new and exciting to them. I am sure there are the exceptions, but I know that just about anything I ask the boys about, they show a fervent interest. They 're kids, that's what they do. But with kids it's fleeting. Why do we even find the need to ask them? They're not in charge, we are! What are we hoping to gain for them? Last I checked, no one ever asked me how many sports I played, how many languages I knew, or could I pluck at a guitar. This whole generation of parents seems to over indulge and then we want to know why our kids demand so much of our time (of the "nonquality" variety) and money.

Uh, duh?

My boys are allowed one activity a season. ONE! Whether it be a sport or music or art. Now, they also have PSR (Parish School Religion) on Monday nights, that is a must. And Jake begged to do Scouts this year. It is every other week, and because he is doing scouts, he does not get to play basketball. And guess what? He is okay with that. Kids are resilient.

I will finish my rant with this thought...I don't remember ever having a gagillion commitments when I was a kid. Even in high school, I never felt spread too thin, and I was pretty involved in extra curriculars. I don't think many of my friends were either, and I think we all turned out just fine. I do remember hanging out with my family on the weekends (AT HOME), riding bikes, going to the park, READING books (GASP!), and being happy! These are the things that in retrospect, our kids will appreciate more than having 5 baseball and soccer games in a weekend. These are the things that create a sense of security and confidence and love. Time is all we have, and I don't want to spend it watching from the sidelines!

Stick that in your pipe, and have a great weekend!

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