Lessons Learned the Easy Way

I have a really hard time trying to understand how my children and theirs prioritize their time. On a recent visit to my daughter’s, I found myself marking the passing of time by which kid had to be at what lesson, practice or class at what time. It was truly dizzying! Tennis, cheerleading, Hebrew school, piano lessons and gymnastics were only a few places to which they needed to be schlepped. . And the money those things cost was staggering. My daughter kept a calendar which carefully noted their schedules. When a conflict occurred, a kind neighbor was called into action.

Things really weren’t all that differen when I was raising children. As I recall, I car pooled to dancing lessons and Brownies, and I remember postponing a lot of dinners when baseball season arrived. Then there were wonderful classes offered at the Science Museum that were held five days a week. I didn’t mind the drive every day. What I hated was trying to figure out what to put in their lunches.

On the other hand, as I was growing up, I never had to be driven to a single lesson or class .This was quite convenient since we had no car. It also allowed parents and kids time to spend together. So what did we do without gymnastics and baseball and soccer? We just played! We played handball against the curb and hide and go seek and jumped rope. My favorite activity was making up plays which I coerced the other kids to act out.

I don’t think the lack of structured activities was at all detrimental to our mental health, and neither am I convinced that today’s kids benefit from having an abundance of them. When they’re at home, they seem to get bored if they’re not constantly busy. So they turn to the computer, electronic games or television. I think the next time I visit , I’ll challenge my little geniuses to a game of handball on the front curb. And who knows, it might be the start of a whole new tradition.

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