Chapter 5 was one of those chapters that has stuck with me from the first time I read it. It reminded me to keep balance with my daughter’s schedule so that she can be a “child” as she grows up through her various changes in development. He isn’t saying that our children need to not have any activities and only be “free” but he is saying to balance it out so that they can grow into whole beings. He talks about having Sabbath’s (distraction free zones/days/times), taking a season off from the sports, choosing one activity per child to focus on, and the rest of the time letting them explore their world, be bored, and reach their potential within. Some favorite passages are below:
- “… there are costs to controlling their schedules, to “getting more out” of their childhood years. They are leading superphosphated lives, busy with activities from morning to night. Excess “enrichment” is not soaking in; it’s running off, polluting their well-being. Activity without downtime is ultimately — like a plant without roots — unsustainable.”
- “Moments of Sabbath are “distraction-free zones.” Not many families can set aside a whole day of the week for quiet family time, but we can still carve out some moments. Doing so adds balance to busy days and establishes boundaries. As you refuse to answer the phone during dinner the message your kids get is “Right now, we’re together, sharing this meal.” Some families can go further, setting aside a half day for a hike every week, or establishing a “no-drive Sunday” of staying home, a symbolic gesture for the family and environment.”
- “I have seen it. I’ve seen how loading up a child’s days with activities and events from morning to night can dig a developmental groove in their beings. It can establish a reliance, a favoring of external stimulation over emotional or inner activity. A child with a room full of toys has been set up to be dissatisfied. They’ve been programmed to imagine that pleasure depends on toys, and that the next one might be better than the rest. Likewise, a child who doesn’t experience leisure — or better yet, boredom — will always be looking for external stimulation activity, or entertainment.”
Come join us on GoodReads to discuss this and other blog posts.