Friday, 8 June 2012

A question of time

Y had a friend at school, S, whose mother was talking to me about her daughter's schedule one day at the school gate..

"S spent three hours in dance rehearsal yesterday, and I had to wait for her in the parking lot because there wasn't anywhere for parents to sit and watch..."

That was a Sunday. The child rehearsed for three hours on a Sunday afternoon.


Of course, one set of rehearsals for one Sunday might be a good price to pay for a children's dance performance. My two roundly refused to do anything dancy or singy or actory in school and they weren't into doing the same things either around the house or in an afterschool class either.

But it seems to me that I was bombarded with comments from other parents about what their children did. What extra classes they went to. How many 'things' they could squeeze into their lives. All the time.

I never asked, "Does the child want this or do you?"

Or, "Do you think that pushing a child into all these extra hours of slog will motivate them to do anything?"

And, "Are you fulfilling all your dreams through your child because you couldn't/wouldn't/didn't do this extra stuff for yourself in your own younger days?"

Equally, "What about downtime? Dreamtime? Time just to sit and think and be yourself? Does your child have that? Do you rush to shovel as much activity into your child's head and life that you can in order to be even with every other mother and father OR is it what your child has chosen to do?"

You see, I'm one for asking questions. I refrained, that time, because you're supposed to admire the mother taxi service and the father who always takes his kid to football practice even if that kid would rather watch frogs in the local pond that day.

How much of our life is given over to doing what everyone else does just because everyone else does it? Do we ignore our child's right just to idle or do what our child wants to do just because our child wants to do it?

So, as a belated retort to S's mother, I'll say, "Even God rested on a Sunday!"

1 comment:

  1. Got to say I've got one of those children who signs up for lots of activities, and I've certainly spent my fair share of time waiting in car parks while she does her stuff. Saturdays and Sundays are often her busiest days. But she can catch up on her dreaming and lazing time during weekdays when a lot of the young people she sees at these 'extra-curricular' clubs are at school.

    I don't know how some kids cope with school, homework and activities filling almost every spare minute.