Have you seen this article? It’s been circulating in my Facebook feed although it was written a few years back. And it’s awesome.
It makes me feel fortunate to have made friends and have close neighbors that share a common mindset when it comes to parenting:
We don’t over schedule.
We agree that kids need time to play and be supervised from afar (we all have kids under age 6). No helicopter parenting here.
We agree that we need to be outside getting messy as often as possible.
We agree that while school and sports and music lessons have their role in helping our kids become well rounded people, they should take a backseat in these early years.
Professor Safi, not only do you teach right down the street from me at Duke University (how ironic is that?), but you challenge an important stigma of which I often feel like I’m catapulting right toward the middle: the blackhole of elementary aged kids who are over scheduled, over-parented, and not allowed to just play.
It terrifies me because it’s everything I’ve worked hard not to do with my youngsters, yet I feel the pull of society calling me to enroll my oldest (4.5 years) in summer camp. Or preschool. Or a sport. She’s just 4.5!” says my inner voice. Let her be a child! She will have 13 years to be in school more hours than she plays, to be inside more than she is outside, and to endure waaaaaay more academic pressure than children should. Yet I still feel the lure of a society that values busy-ness and find myself wondering if I’m making the right choices.
Does anyone else feel societal pressure to conform to what the masses are doing? I fight it constantly and question if I’m doing what’s right for my family and my kids, and in the end my heart knows best.
You ask how is my heart? Right now it is often exhausted from being in full-time parent mode. But on this sunny morning it is joyous, because my colicky newborn is actually sleeping and my older kiddos are outside inventing games in mud puddles and picking blueberries. And that is exactly where they should be.