As a parent, sometimes I feel negligent of my child because I don’t enroll him in at least one activity after school. Most of my son’s friends spend every afternoon at one or two activities. Even as they are actively engaged, I have heard these children utter the words that make parents cringe: I’m bored!
As parents, we are obsessed with having children that are productive. We think this ensures they will lead meaningful lives when they grow up. That sloths our children will not be!
One year we tried what everyone was calling ‘enrichment’ activities and competitive sports. Our family was running around, on a schedule, constantly trying to catch up. After months of this, I overheard my husband asking if my son had any dreams lately (he had been unusually quiet in that front) and our son replied, “no I always just dream I am late to everything.”. That broke my heart.
Needless to say, we slowed way down. This school year, there were no scheduled after school activities. And our little boy started sharing his dreams again.
I have come to believe children need time to reflect. That down-time nourishes people as much as the active time. I also believe learning is happening during both.
Maybe it’s time to redefine what being productive really is. I am pretty certain it’s present when our children daydream or as they play unhindered by schedules.
Article By Nuria Almeida
Photo By Strocchi
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