Thursday, May 28, 2015
How much free time is too much free time? I know there is a push back against over-scheduling in the states. I try to be open-minded about ideas with parenting as long as they don't outright offend my beliefs and values. And this is one of those gray areas. Now that summer is upon me with the kids at home ( camp is $$$ for 3 camp-aged kids) for the most part, I have to reevaluate my game plan.
I've had summers past where besides fixed activities, I've let the kids have hours of free time. Living in an apartment and without the free use of space that would greatly complement this philosophy, these times always ended up in a chaotic environment and fighting. It was hard to shift gears, clean up, and go anywhere! That was frustrating, to say the least.
Limiting technological play ( doesn't that always make your kids cranky, anyway?!) already lends itself to more
creative endeavors. And while I can't say I will have a strict schedule because I can't function that way with a baby who is on the verge of walking, I will embrace some sort of discipline this summer. Here's why:
I read somewhere way back that order is the first virtue. And that it safeguards against impurity. I don't have a fear of impurity at the moment for my kids. Although some of you may have. It's a very real struggle now days with easy access. All the more reason to think on these things! But I can see where having responsibilities in life and having to care for your things- your room, your clothes, your siblings, makes life simple and clear. There isn't a black hole of time that is all for ME, MINE OWN, and therefore, what will please me and give me the most pleasure? As in anything, both virtue and vice grow according to how much it is fed! And pleasures become boring and we find ourselves pursuing more and more until we put our toes in dangerous water. Maybe we don't even know it's dangerous water at that point. The whole slippery slope thing. ( see Screwtape Letters by c s Lewis for more on this) It happens to adults all the time, why not to kids? And besides, childhood should
have some foreshadowing of adulthood so that its not completely separate, and shunned and rejected when it comes, ahem, current culture.
It sounds like a tirade, I know. But it's really not. It's spending time in silence, contemplating reality as the philosopher Joseph Pieper puts it, so as to be prudent, or right judging.
And part of prudence is realizing where I need help. And I do need help! Excuse me while I go and call my babysitter to see if she can help me in the morning! ;)