We don’t watch much television at our home these days. Our days are pretty full with sporting, scouting, and other activities. While it seems that it can be hard for us to catch our breath from all of the running around, I know parents with children that have a lot more on their plates. I guess that it is never too early to learn time management skills and how to prioritize. Still, there is something missing among all of the things that we pack into our children’s lives; and unlike a skill such as music lessons, ballet lessons, and baseball, it cannot be obtained later. Once they grow up, their chance to get it is over. That is the simple joy of childhood. Kids just being kids.
After a particularly hectic week this week, we purposely scheduled nothing. That does not mean that we did nothing, mind you. We did lots of things, but we did them as a family. We grilled out. My wife and I enjoyed coffee in the porch swing together. My wife helped our oldest son hone his soccer skills which turned out to be as funny to watch as it was fun for them. I helped our youngest build a wooden box that he got in a kit for Christmas and had already begun but never had time to finish. The best part of all was the play time that our two sons had together. They went exploring in the yard and found five snakes, chased anoles around the plants, and lapped the driveway several times on scooters and Rip Sticks.
It is important for children to get some down time. Just as parents need time to wind down and de-stress, children need that too. Play is a key component to learning and it is important in developing creative skills. Our youngest pulled out a kit that he got several years ago that can make really neat indoor forts. He made the fort, then he discovered various creative things to do with the pieces once he took the fort apart. He built a turnstile and a royal scepter that doubled as a back massager. Pretty cool, huh?
During Sunday supper, we gathered around the table and I asked them both how they enjoyed their weekend. One of the boys said that he really liked it, but the other said that it got a little boring. “Boring?” I asked. Then I reminded him of all of the things that he did over the weekend. An occasional “boring” weekend can be good too. It teaches children how to entertain themselves. One of my biggest pet peeves is to hear someone say, “I’m bored.” When I hear that, I tell them what my mother once told me, “Only boring people get bored.” Sometimes they will ask what that means. For that I tell them that I am not here to entertain them. There is an entire world of things to do. Get out and do them! Chase those anoles, find those snakes, build forts and chase your dreams! Sometimes we need some down time to know what those dreams are.
Just when I thought that I could get used to the leisure life of no set schedule, I checked my calendar for the upcoming weekend. Will it be another two days of unscheduled bliss? Not a chance. There are three classes and a team practice written in pen. It looks like I will have to schedule the unscheduled.
Written by Bill Waller. Mr. Waller is a author and contributor local blog, Southwest Georgia Politics. He enjoys writing, traveling, and researching history. He currently resides in Albany, Georgia.