“I am so glad that I have Wednesday night off!”. This is not a statement from one of my adult friends. No, this line was uttered from one of our students who is clearly feeling overextended in the midst of this holiday season. Jackie, our school counselor, hears lines like this often. She believes that kids should have one night on not one night off.
It’s a tough balance. We want to provide our children opportunities to experience and excel and since they are only young for a short period of time we hate to miss the opportunities. In 1981, Tufts professor David Elkind wrote the classic The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon in which he said “We hurry our children because we hurry ourselves.” Now in its 25th edition, Elkind has updated the book given the rise in technology which has become a complicating factor.
Elkind extols the virtues of the present when mom and dad can simply enjoy the moments they are spending with their child, not necessarily watching them in karate or coaching them in soccer. Merely playing a board game, taking a long walk, or going fishing can provide opportunities for adults and children to dialogue in a calm and thoughtful way.
During the busiest month of the year I hope that we do our best to lighten the load for our children, forsake any desire to revel in our children’s success as a symbol of our own gain, and breathe.