I was reading the Metro news the other day (a free newspaper given in the Metro in Canada), and was taken aback by a mother listing all the activities of her two sons. I can’t quite remember the entire list but it went something like this:
- ice skating
- [insert two or three more here]
I read through the entire list of activities, and figured it was about 4 activities per child, assuming she didn’t enroll the both of them into all of the listed items.
I find this ridiculous because it’s as though all of these activities are more important than studying or just being a kid.
My family is not immune to this, because they have no less than 3 activities each, and 2 “events” per child every weekend that they have to attend.
(Going to an Indigo Storytime Reading Session is considered an “event”, in this case, as is a sleepover or a birthday party).
WE SEEM TO PLACE GREAT IMPORTANCE ON EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES OVER “WORK”
More so than anywhere else, I see that in North America we tend to place a very high importance on doing stuff that is not work.
School for children, is their “job” or their “work”, in my opinion.
Work would then include studying, or reading ahead in textbooks so that you’re prepared for the next lesson in class. Everything else, is a hobby to enrich your life.
To translate that into adult life, I have plenty of hobbies, but I don’t think that my hobbies should take over let’s say, getting my work done on time at my job.
I’m not about to go out and take half a day off each day just to blog, while neglecting my actual workload, so why are we teaching our children these values that having a hobby is more important than a job?
Sure, it’s more FUN, but life isn’t fun 100% of the time.
WE CAN’T SEEM TO LET OUR KIDS JUST BE … BORED KIDS
We need to fill every. single. minute. of. their. little. overworked. hectic. schedules.
This makes it even harder on parents because they have their OWN overworked, hectic schedules that they have to follow for work and their own personal life.
I spent plenty of time, bored out of my skull as a kid.
I started building dollhouses out of old tissue boxes and learning how to play alone, which led to a lot of reading and playing the piano.
Aside from the requisite piano and language lessons, I didn’t have booked weekends of sleepovers, story time sessions or being chauffeured around from activity to activity.
If I wanted to pick up another instrument (and I did, I picked up two more instruments during school), I had to get MYSELF to those places to be there for practice three times a week at 7 a.m. before school started, and to get myself back and fro from competitions and concerts.
My parents were barely anywhere to be found in helping me play these two extra instruments.
Heck, they didn’t even show up to my concerts, which was a little bit too far and dare I say, lazy on their part.
WE VALUE SACRIFICING OUR OWN PERSONAL LIVES FOR THE SAKE OF OUR CHILDREN
By “we” I mean society in general, seems to place great importance on “sacrificing” for our children.
We give up our time, our money, our retirement funds, our sleeping-in-time on the weekends, just so that our children can have each and every ounce and fiber of our essence and being.
They wake up at 5 a.m. to drive their kid to the hockey rink, or spend their weekends and their money driving from city to city for hockey matches, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, while simultaneously shelling upwards to $10,000 for hockey gear and accessories so that their kids are properly equipped to play the sport.
Good on them for wanting to do it at the start (those eager beavers), but don’t they ever think to themselves on occasion and groan:
I wish Jack would just give up hockey so I could get errands done on the weekends rather than having to cram it in after work.
Also, this hockey is costing us a fortune!
We martyr ourselves and call this “sacrifice for the greater good” but is it really?
Are kids really more fulfilled if we sacrifice our own personal lives and put our agendas on hold for them?
I am obviously not a fan of this, but for me to say this, would perhaps garner reactions from other parents like: “Oh.”, which translates into: “I don’t understand why you don’t WANT to sacrifice your life for your kid and give them the very possibly best start in life? Shame on you!”
KIDS JUST GROW UP ASSUMING THIS IS NORMAL TO BE #1 ALL THE TIME
Don’t these kids just grow up thinking that it’s normal that your parents are basically your slaves and chauffeurs?
That they’re there to pay for anything they want to do (that’s fun of course), and they have to do it with a smile on their face?
I see the result in the children my mother has to teach. They’re expecting her to bend over backwards for them because they’ve been conditioned and programmed to understand that they’re #1 in everyone’s life.
But honestly, when did children become the bosses?
The parents are the bosses.
However now kids are deciding what you do with your personal life as well and you have no say in it at all?
Doesn’t that sound ridiculous to you? It does to me.
MY RULE: ONLY TWO ACTIVITIES A WEEK
My rule? Only 2 activities a week.
For me, it’s going to be one language (school on Saturday mornings), and then either a music activity (maybe I can just save money and teach my kids to play piano), or anything else that they wish to do, as long as it doesn’t involved competitions out of town and all that money & hassle.
Yes, in short, they can do what they want as long as it doesn’t inconvenience my own personal time and life too greatly.
I am a person too, you know.
Otherwise, there’ll be none of this ridiculous scheduling around my children because one has piano lessons, and then the other has soccer, but then they both have to get out in time for ice skating, all on the same day.