Idle hands?

Busy bee“The majority prove their worth by keeping busy. A busy life is the nearest thing to a purposeful life.”

I had already decided to write about our culture of “busy-ness”  today and then spotted the quote above. Rather ironic when the focus of this post is the complete opposite idea.

Earlier this week, a colleague posted a link to this memorable New Yorker article about “Mr. Ravioli.” It’s a clever, insightful piece about a young girl’s imaginary friend; I encourage you to read it when you can take some time to absorb the tale

In fact, I realize this topic is coming full circle as the school year comes to a screaming halt. You see, this year, due to work flexibility and our kids’ ages, we decided to leave more gaps in their summer schedule.

When our children were younger and both parents were working full-time, we would either enroll our two kids in day camps, hire a nanny or babysitter, go on vacation or some combination of all three.  This year, they’ll both attend two or three weeks of camp but, as of now, have a lot of free time on their calendars.

I’m thinking (perhaps naively) that flexibility during the summer will allow more time to read, play with friends and wander around outdoors. It may also cause less stress for parents who don’t have to arrange pick ups, drop offs and lunches/swim suits/towels/dry clothes.

Careful of the admonishment recently doled out about overly zealous helicopter parents preventing optimal physical health in children, I’m hoping that a solo walk to the park or to friends’ homes will do the kids – and my bottom line – some good. (By the way, I’m not rolling my eyes in response to the report that finds children need more fresh air and exercise. However, I am leery of putting more pressure on parents who are already feeling all kinds of stress.)

How do you feel about our culture of busy-ness? Do you think parents and kids are overly scheduled and under creative? Are you able to give your children some freedom over the summer to explore their own interests? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

9 responses to “Idle hands?

  1. Rebekah Murdoch

    And hopefully u feel u can fill some of that down time this summer w swims at our house 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone Rebekah Murdoch


  2. Thanks, Rebekah. That definitely sounds like a plan. Thank you for your continued support with this blog. (:

  3. I read that Star article, and another one like it in the Globe, and it really opened my eyes. I try not to be a “helicopter”, but it really enforced my belief that I should NOT be one. I’m not a bad mom for letting Evelyn do her own thing at the park without me hovering, etc…

    I hate our culture of “busy-ness”. I hate that we have a capitalist society that makes us work more than we spend time with our families. I love keeping busy – I am always reading a book, gardening, knitting, etc…But those are things I love to do. Over-scheduling sucks, and I try really hard not to do it to myself or Evelyn. I suspect this’ll be more challenging as she grows older/school-age.

  4. I’m not a parent, so I can’t see it from that point of view. But, I do know that as far as my child memories go, I appreciated running free with my friends or by myself. During the summer, my mom would point at my bike in the garage and say “Go out and play, be back for supper.” (Which would probably get her arrested these days.) Parks, creeks, Bruce Pitt, the adventures we had with no adult supervision.

  5. Pingback: Summer Daze | Kids & Mental Health

  6. Pingback: Coronavirus and your Kids: Tips for Parents throughout the School Closure | Kids & Mental Health

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