Journal: News & Comment

Saturday, October 11, 2003
# 9:05:00 AM:

Rest? What's that?

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Parents have lots to worry about with our kids. We always have. Millennia ago it was marauding animals. Last century it included any number of fatal and incurable diseases. Today there are fast cars on busy streets, Internet pedophiles, and obesity-inducing fast food.

What really bothers me, though, is the fear of idleness among many of today's parents (profiled well in an article series about "micromanaged children" in last week's National Post). Check this out:

"When I was young, I had nothing like this," Brunot says. "I was an only child. I wanted to do swimming. I wanted to do gymnastics. My dad, he didn't care about things like this. He just liked to go outside, visit monuments; we would go to the sea."

Horrors! Going outside, to the sea! Or:

"You've got to realize the times we're in right now. You've got to help them out. Otherwise, they're going to stay far behind," says Dr. Spiro Photopoulos, who admits that even though he got into medical school, he spent much of his youth "always playing outside, always doing things at the last minute.

"I didn't want that for them."

He didn't? Why not? Is it no longer okay to be a kid and not have to worry about schedules and deadlines?

There's heavy pressure to have our kids get extra schooling, or be in soccer and ballet and language lessons and after-school programs. Yeah, my oldest daughter wants to learn piano, and both our kids took swimming classes in the summer. But there should be time for playing on the swings, running around a field, walking through the forest, or just sitting around the house doing nothing in particular.

It's okay. Really.


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