A summer of being or doing…which will your child have?
With summer approaching we have been inundated with literature from this camp and that sports team, all of which sound exceedingly fun and exciting (and often expensive!). Every year I read through them all and think about what great experiences they would be for my sons. Then I remember that they spend their whole school year scheduled from morning to evening and they need time to breath and just be.
My rose colored memories of childhood summers are going the swimming pool, hanging out at my grandma’s house with my cousins, exploring and getting into things we probably shouldn’t have (you can see my blog on the allure of whip cream for more details of that!), making up silly songs, games, and dances, walking all over town, going to the ballpark, reading a gazillion books, and having tons of time to get bored and then creative. While I may not have realized it at the time, those unscheduled days were a gift that allowed me time to just be.
That’s a little piece of small town life I try to give to my city kids.
I am fortunate to have the luxury of spending most of the summer off with my boys. We swim as often as the weather cooperates, play in the yard, go to the park, rest, garden, read, and eat outside on the back porch when it isn’t too sweltering hot. I have purposely limited the scheduled activities for my children to a precious few in order to give them the carefree days of summer for as long as they can have them. A summer of just being rather than doing.
As I talk with other parents, I often find they have a very different perspective. Their children are scheduled for classes, camps, sports teams, and play dates for nearly every minute of everyday. I was stunned in speaking with parent recently who in describing her children’s schedule for this summer realized there were only two weeks where they did not have some kind of formal activity scheduled. My thought was, “Oh my goodness, they are going to be exhausted by all of that.” Her thought was, “That two weeks is a lot of time without any thing to do.”
So what do our kids need, more doing or more being?
There was a quote in the yoga room I taught in for several years that said, “Breath in. Breath out. We are human beings, not human doings. So just breath.” That clearly sums it up for me. What about you?
Lisa Vratny-Smith MSW, RYT is a mom, school social worker, yoga teacher, writer, and the Editor of Mile High Mamas Mama Drama column. You can read more of her Laughing Yoga Mama blog at www.laughingyogamama.blogspot.com