What would life look like if you–GASP!–dropped an activity?   2 comments

I’m writing this blog entry to myself, mainly, but maybe it can set you free-er too.

And I am also writing this in the knowledge that I could be extremely wrong in the lecture I’m about to give myself.

It is good for your children to participate in clubs, such as scouting, and sports, such as soccer.  It’s definitely great for your child to take music lessons.  I’d vote for piano lessons as the starter as I think they provide many benefits–learning to read music, confidence, not to mention all the benefits to the brain and fine motor skills.  And I like piano because you can get pretty pleasing results after very few lessons–if the piano is in tune, of course.

As your child grows older, he may want to partake in activities friends of his enjoy.  There is no shortage of sports she can play; there are dance lessons of all types.  There’s fencing.  There are clubs centered around gaming.  There are clubs centered around computer programming and robotics.  There is a wonderful plethora of options for kids to benefit from.

Then in high school there’s homework, time to socialize, sports, after school clubs, work, and of course volunteer hours.

All good: no complaint there.  Volunteering is for sure one thing I did almost none of as a teen but should have.

But.

Yes, I’m asking the question.

Where did the down time, the free time, the daydreaming time go?

How can someone develop fully as a human being if she is constantly on the go and nothing, but nothing, ever shuts off?

Is it truly necessary for your child to be fully immersed in several activities at most times of the year in order for her to get into college and have a future?  I don’t know.  Maybe it is.  Maybe things have gotten so competitive because there are so many people on the planet that my ideas are just naive.  Maybe my daughter will be omitting a key that would have gotten her into the door of a better college that would then have opened a further door, and someday I’ll be sorry.

And maybe you and your kids love your lives the way they are.  If you love what you’re doing, don’t stop doing it.

But if you don’t, just imagine what you could do with the time you free up if your family drops one activity.  It might be interesting to drop them all for a month or two in summer.

Perhaps that is an impossible dream.  But, what if you could back off?  What would life look like outside of a minivan?

Imagine.

An art form you dropped years ago.

Volunteering for a cause you care about.

Time to spend building connections with other people.

No longer being too busy and too tired at the end of the week to get together with friends.

Wouldn’t that be great?

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Posted July 29, 2016 by swanatbagend in learning, parenting

Tagged with , , ,

2 responses to “What would life look like if you–GASP!–dropped an activity?

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  1. How funny that you posted this just before I sent you that weepy email on the same subject…

    It’s not about them getting into college for me. It’s (1) having fallen into an activity that eats our lives, but which they adore and I would have to be truly cruel to force them to drop it; (2) trying to be fair to the other kids, who have been dragged back and forth to the first activity for years; (3) finally convincing the kids that the activities *I* care about and would like to enjoy with them are fun and interesting; (4) activity 1 ate up most of the unstructured time for the oldest kids, (5) living so far from town meant the drive eats up another good chunk of it; and (6) having so many kids means that even one activity each (and the age-range ensures it can’t be the same one for everyone) fills it all up.

    It is definitely energy-eating and time-eating.
    But OTOH, homeschooling offsets that to some extent. We don’t take educational breaks of more than a few days – but our learning includes a lot of non-traditional approaches that count as fun and family time. And our “curriculum” (“academic approach this year” would be a better description) fully embraces the “activities” as core aspects. One of the things we are doing counts as both activity and volunteerism for our new high schooler. This year I am all about dual-/multi-purposing!

    But the dreamy time is definitely suffering.
    Is that necessary?
    I don’t know. I do know it isn’t *my* doing. The large time-commitments are ones that my children have chosen, and I try to provide a reality-check at intervals to remind them that they are choosing to have less free time.
    Should I *make* them give up their main activity? It would make my life easier… but would it make theirs richer?
    I think it depends on the child. My introvert could definitely use that dreamy time to touch her creative side – and I have been very tempted to insist she drop her activity. The other hyper-busy one is an extreme extrovert – she accesses her creative side and rebuilds her energies by being busy and around people – to make her drop would be cruel and counter-productive.

    Of course dropping this all-consuming activity might be kind to the other kids – but as they get older they have more options to stay home or do other activities… but then we are back to eating up *my* time and energy!

    (I think I need my own blog… I seem to be co-opting yours a bit!)

  2. Thanks for replying! I always value your insights, because I tend to see things one way, and not realize the range of reasons people may have for participation in a variety of activities. I tend to assume that most of the level of activity attending is driven by our culture. Clearly, that is not always the case. I am glad with you that you have more children now who either are able to or will soon be able to stay home or to drive themselves to their activities–that obviously helps in some ways. Of course, someone has to be the Mastermind who orchestrates it all…and that someone is usually us, who else? I also see your point about the extrovert needing to be around other people. Do online connections or phone conversations help that in any way, or does it have to be in person? And, while I don’t know how people are to get there, I do maintain that the well being of the parent who is managing the family has to have somewhat more weight than the plans or desires of the children, because the family really needs him or her to be whole and well. Again thank you for your feedback!

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