Yesterday my nine-year-old daughter and her buddy were hanging out in the backyard. They were draped over the swing set like a bunch of old clothes, not swinging, or sliding down the slide, or doing much of anything.
I suggested that they play basketball, or get out the slip-and-slide, and they both looked at me as if I were insane.
“Mommy, we’re playing a game,” my daughter said with indignation in her voice.
“Oh, sorry,” I said, realizing that their lack of motion did not mean they were bored or in need of ideas to do stuff from me.
For them, it was their last lazy Sunday before the school year started and they were savoring every moment.
I was a bit jealous of them both as I walked back into the house to finish my 18th load of laundry. I was looking at the Sunday hours ticking away and I realized I’d have only a few minutes to really relax the day before my jam-packed work week began.
I know school can be work for kids, but school is not work..and that’s a good thing.
Kids need to savor these carefree days because before they know it they’ll be punching a clock and those lazy days not swinging on swings will be forever gone.
I’m not feeling sorry for myself, it’s just the reality.
I force myself to think of this now before I start ratcheting up the pressure on my son and daughter to work until they drop in order to get great grades to make it in this world. That’s what sometimes happens to me during the school year. I get all stressed out that they’re not doing enough and put a fire under them to bust their little butts.
Well, that’s not a good thing, and deep down I know it. Someone mentioned to me last week that from age 7 to 17 it’s a “race to the SATs” for kids and nothing else matters.
That statement depressed me and it helped shake up my perceptions a bit.
If kids race to the SATs that means they’re also racing to the assembly line of work, and while I believe a little hard work is a great idea for all kids, racing through youth is idiotic.
Time for us all to get a bit of a reality check and let kids be kids. Come on, as yellow buses start making the rounds across the country, take a second to remember what it was like when you got on the school bus. Wouldn’t you want a few seconds of that time back?