Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

Let The Playing Children Play

“Hey, miss shoulders, you’re not paying attention! You gotta move side to side, like this.”

“Come on, buddy, kick, kick…”

“You can do it, put your face in the water and blow bubbles! Two more times, sweetie…

Parent-turned-trainers work hard. These three did at least. So did the kids. Their ages ranged from three to I’d say eight or so. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon so the boys and I chose to go to the pool. People go there for fun, unless they really are enrolled in classes. Right? Right, but… yeah, it’s the parent-turned-trainers that made me reconsider my own actions. I’ve been there with this swimming thing. I admit taking the boys to the pool just for fun and finding myself play weekend trainer in a most shameless manner. Tony knew better than to give in so he did it half-hardheartedly just so he can go and play shortly after. I did it at least twice and every time I had a bit of a two-sided feeling gnawing at my good intentions: I know practice is good and should be encouraged, but if the kid asks to go to the pool and does not say specifically “Mom, I want to practise my swimming moves” then it means that he wanted to go to the pool to have fun. So I’d better just let him have fun. More even, join in and the moves will churn themselves right out through the water while I am chasing him in the pool.Which is what pool time was like yesterday with them. Lots of swimming, diving, blowing bubbles and kicking hard to not be tagged, oh, that was some serious swimming, I tell ya. A good workout at that.

Pressure is a merciless beast sporting a kind face, is it not. These days parents are its prey of choice, I’d say. Most kids are enrolled in one too many classes because they have to be well instructed and uber-performers in just about any areas, from music to sports and everything in between. Kids are over-scheduled and many resent it.

I don’t have the solution. I don’t point the finger either. It’s tough being a parent, knowing what to do and how to do it right. I wish we could all be a bit more relaxed and let kids enjoy their childhood, revive the good old playtime for the sake of …well, just playing, nothing more. And if their schedule abounds with classes and that Saturday afternoon is the only one left for fun, then they should have it, no questions asked, no sneaky para-training sliding in either. Just playing. Not sure about you, but I had that as a kid. Lots and lots of it. believe it or not playing engages children in ways that surprise adults. They run, jump, take the physical activities to the maximum, they play with music and numbers and they do it with passion. Children learn through playing, they do. So it only makes sense that we throw the parent-turned-trainer towel in and join in the fun. There has never been a better time.




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  1. I hate to muddy up this beautiful piece with an unrelated comment – but this is the only way I could figure to get a hold of you; you can delete this after you read it!

    Since you commented on the “Your Job is to Write, Not Worry” post on the Writer’s Digest GLA blog (and I didn’t know if you commented because you simply appreciated the thoughts set forth, or because you were hoping to win a copy of ‘The Great Lenore’), I wanted to let you know that I am giving away 4 additional copies of ‘The Great Lenore’ (and a $200 Amazon gift card!) on my site this month [ ]. I figure the more people who know, the better!

    Keep writing.

    • Hey JM,
      Thanks for the comment, no muddying either :-). I commented because I liked your blog post, but if I win a book even better, I liked the first chapter :-).

  2. Fantastic insights! I have already been hunting for something like this for some time now. Thx!

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