Summer is coming. Along with it comes the summer camps and the different programs from swimming to soccer that we adults think our children will benefit from as they grow.
But here’s a good question for us, parents, as we busy ourselves with classes, practices, and recitals, of our children. Do they have time to daydream?
When I enrolled myself in college to a private piano class, I met a nanny of a 5-year-old girl who went to the same piano teacher. The nanny told me how she pitied the little girl. After school, they would run into series of classes from Kumon for Math to piano practice to soccer games, and so on. When they come home, they would do homeworks, practice in the piano again, and some other extracurricular activity. This continues in the weekends, too. Such is the busy life of this Kindergartner that she always hits the bed totally exhausted. I had to wonder if she was ever happy. I hoped she is. I hoped she had the time to play. Random, unplanned playtime.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for these summer programs and after-school learning classes. Our household is part of that mindset. And yes, we are enrolled to swimming and soccer camps this season. I believe in the value of constant learning, discipline, self-development, and the benefit of a busy mind. But I also believe in “lazy days”, unstructured, agenda-less playtime. I had many of those in my childhood. I was never enrolled in summer programs. And those “lazy” summer days I spent watching TV, daydreaming, reading magazines, daydreaming, reading books, playing outside, playing on my own, daydreaming. And those dreams that were born in those summer days are the dreams I carried with me in my adult life. They are the ones that gave birth to ideas, life goals, ambitions, and motivations. In short, daydreams are not so bad.
So here’s a proposal. How about we enroll our kids to a special summer program — No agenda, no structure. Just ordinary days that let the kids wander in the backyard or sandbox or playground or wherever else that allow them to wander in their thoughts. Let them explore their imaginations. Let them daydream.
About Meaningful Parenting.