I confess I am a bit of a hibernator in Winter. I like cozy fires, comfy clothes, slow cooker meals and hanging out at home. It starts for me right after Thanksgiving. Schedules take on a different pace, Fall sports wrap up and I enjoy the opportunity to just 'hunker down' with my family.
After a particularly crazy Fall schedule two
years ago (all three kids in demanding after school activities) I made
an 'extreme' decision--no Winter sports. None of my children are
particularly excited by basketball--their great
loves of baseball and soccer are Fall & Spring sports. If they
were ambivalent, why would I push?
I don't have any
help driving kids from place to place in the afternoon. My husband works
late. We have no family in town. I was tired of spending the afternoons
bouncing around frantically like a pinball. I resented not having
dinner as a family. Homework was getting the squeeze. I saw the
opportunity to grasp a lifeline and I took it. This has now been our
tradition for two Winters.
P & K still have
music lessons during a 30 minute slice on Wednesdays & we go to
church that night as well, but otherwise, we come home after school. We
rest. We play. We try to space out homework across the week. And it is
I was talking to a frantic mother recently. She
spoke of her stress with her schedule and asked if I was feeling it
too. As I confessed my hibernation she replied, "Well, you won't be able
to do THAT much longer."
exactly why I am enjoying it now.
Spring is coming and
this year each of my three have picked a unique sport with a different
practice & game schedule. It will be hairy. I am not looking
forward to the seemingly inevitable nature of busy afternoons and game
packed weekends. But just because that is coming, doesn't mean it
has to be that way now.
I started thinking
about how often we go ahead and throw in the towel prematurely. Why do
we allow our anticipation that 'it won't always be this way' to spoil
our enjoyment of the fact that while that may be true of the future, it
is pretty good right here in the present? It is true of many parts of
life--far beyond just after school activities. What is the hurry?
Is it resignation?
Is it laziness?
is it just that we forget the power we have when it comes to schedules.
We CAN say no. The world will not fall off its axis if we just step
back and catch our breath. Shouldn't we be modeling this lesson for our
children among the myriad of others?
I fear that we
parents believe our children will succeed or fail in life based on
whether or not they played kid pitch baseball at nine or had mastered
their back handspring by ten. While it is our role in many ways to help
them learn to steward their talents, it is also our job to teach them to
prioritize their time and nurture their souls.
looks different in various families in various seasons. All pursuits don't allow for such a period of rest. I won't judge
you if you don't judge me... :) But let us not forget that while there
is much to be learned from team sports and extracurricular
endeavors, there are also great lessons to be learned in family dinners