Guarding our Children’s Time

guardingtime

The glamour of summer camp has struck casa de phillips.

The children want to go to robotics camp, dance camp, theater camp, tennis camp, and any camp that promises a FULL DAY OF FUN!

The deal with summer camp is that camp is expensive…and exhausting.

I am quickly realizing that I am an active participant in rasing up a generation of children being trained to be busy.

“Hey, Kids! Let’s go from school to extracurricular activity A to Kids Eat Free night at our local burger place to Target and then back home for a quick rest before we do it all over again tomorrow! Doesn’t that sound ah-maz-ing and utterly exhausting all at the same time?”

I have noticed this phenomenon of constant busyness is creating a generation of children who do not have the ability to sit still and just be. For example, as I type this our neighborhood which is home a multitude of children is quiet. The park that sits diagonally across the street from our house is currently empty despite the fact that it is 67 degrees and breezy, a true delight here in Texas in April. School has been out for over an hour…so where are the children?

Friends, they are busy.

Busy attempting to make it from one activity to the next. Busy attempting to become the best at a sport in which they most likely will never revisit after the age of 18. Busy DOING because sitting seems like a waste of time and a chance to be surpassed.

I say all of this because my kids are busy (How do you think I am able to type this at the moment?). Sometimes I claim to others that I let my kids be so involved in extracurricular activites because we homeschool. They are home all day so what does it matter if one is at dance for three hours and the other is shuttled between karate and basketball practice in the same night? It’s all good, right?

Wrong.

Because there have been days in which we have loaded up in the family station wagon and set our sails for the a full night of activities only to pass the neighbhorhood children at the park. My children comment on how they wish they could just play at the park rather than attend said scheduled extracurricular activity.

It is hard to find the balance between activity and rest. I am one of the first to stand up and say that children indeed need to be involved in something and that something is not Minecraft or constant mind-numbing cartoons. However children also need to be involved in their childhood, to have a moment to breathe and run and play.

As parents, we are placed in charge of guarding a great deal of things when in comes to our children. We are told to guard their hearts, their minds, their diets, and their relationships.

I am going to add one more thing to that list: we need to guard their time as well.

Like I said, my children would sign up to do all the things if allowed. They would also become big ol couch potatoes if allowed.

As a parent, I get to guard their time and show them how to manage business and idleness in a responsible manner.

Just this school year we made a decision for our daughter on guarding her time. Due to a variety of circumstances, we opted for her to turn down her invitation to be part of a dance company. She has been part of a dance company since beginning dance at the age of five and that title means so very much to her. Yet one of the reasons why we decided to politely say “no thank you” this year was due to time. We asked ourselves if our child spending an insane amount of hours at the dance studio at the age of eight was worth it for our family. We decided it was not and we declined.

There were many tears about this decision (hers and mine) and a lot of character building that had to occur on behalf of our child.

Yet we survived.

Recently she and I began having the conversation about next year’s dance schedule and what she wanted to achieve from it.

Her response: “I just want to be eight.”

That was my answer, folks.

So next year we will let the girl be eight (technically she will be nine but in the heat of our conversation I did not want to point that out to her). She will still attend dance at a studio that she loves with friends that she loves.

Will others who dance double the hours she does surpass her?

Most likely.

Will it matter to our family in that moment?

No.

I hope to teach my children that doing all the things or none of the things is not guarding one’s time efficiently. I hope to show them time is precious and needs to be treated as such.

How do you guard your family’s time?

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