"PLAY IS OFTEN TALKED ABOUT AS IF IT WERE A RELIEF FROM SERIOUS LEARNING. BUT FOR CHILDREN PLAY IS SERIOUS LEARNING. PLAY IS REALLY THE WORK OF CHILDHOOD." - FRED ROGERS
Leave it to Mr. Rogers to deliver me the parenting advice that I needed. Just when I was teetering on the edge of ridiculousness the man with the loving smile and stellar cardigan collection grounded me and reminded me what childhood is all about. What I LOVED about childhood.
We tend to know the answers to things and yet push aside that simple knowledge (i.e..children are meant to play) with what other voices have allowed to creep into our minds (i.e. My kid needs to be focused, ever attentive and positively crushing it in sports/school/life/etc..).That would be the more unrealistic of the two.
I've written this post about 3 different ways and each time I reread what I've written I want to give myself a little smack across the hand with a ruler.
Let me back up. It seems to me that childhood has changed. No, it doesn't seem....it has! At least the parenting side of things. I read once that parents used to 'raise' their kids but now we 'parent' them. Many Moms run their kids' lives like a small business. Scheduling them up in activities to help them find their passion and be put on the road to success. Researching the right school with spreadsheets and interviews to assure that this child is taught well. I'll admit. I've totally caught myself in a couple of these situations. Naturally, I look around me. I see kids who are in soccer/lacrosse/after school enrichment programs/lego builder clubs/chess club. (I should note the child I'm referring to here is SIX). I can't help but think "Am I missing something? Is my child missing out? Did I not read that parenting book!?"