the benefits of being busy

February 18, 2013

family life

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From March to August, Saturday is renamed Soccerday at our place. At the moment, it’s soccer trials for the two older boys. All three are playing this year.

My boys are busy.

One early morning for school band practice. Shaolin kungfu one afternoon. After school care one afternoon. Over to friends’ after school one to two afternoons. Swimming lessons for the youngest. In summer it’s futsal. In winter it’s soccer. They quite often sign up for the school futsal team as well which involves training before school. Chess club and debating at school for the oldest boy. The youngest does dance at school. It’s all stuff that they have initiated themselves and they enjoy.

I worry that they are too busy. In between all of this activity, they know very well how to relax and play together. And we still have the art of noticing. Like the massive bogong moth hanging out on the washing. And that our spider has now disappeared after not spinning a web for five days.

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In the debate about how much is too much, I look at the side benefits – the connections. As a family (of introverts) we are making and sustaining connections with other parents and children in the community. Those – friendly – good to see you – have a laugh – I can’t believe how much your kids have grown – kids running around with each other – your son played well – give us a call if you need help with transport – type of connections. Not deep and meaningful, but breezy, pleasant and helpful with just the right amount of care and concern.

We are a part of the school community, the futsal community, the soccer community, and the kungfu community.

An Aboriginal woman said to me years ago “you can’t grow a strong tree if you don’t have strong roots”. If downtime is the part where we have strong family foundations and grow a strong tree, the activity is the new growth, the branching out, the stretching out into the sunlight, which then nourishes the tree.

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About hakea

groupworker, parent educator, therapist, mother of three boys.

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6 Comments on “the benefits of being busy”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Adore the tree metaphor and analogy!

    Reply

  2. Hazel M. Wheeler Says:

    What an amazing moth! We often notice these on our porch in the mornings, sometimes can identify them with our books….

    I appreciate what you wrote on the connections which happen during after school activities. We are still noodling on ‘how much is too much’ for our son, wanting him to take a martial arts class but wondering how it will fit in with life. I liked hearing those positives in regard to relationships. When I’m visiting in the classroom, I do see little collections of parents talking because they all see each other at their children’s practices. Kiddo loves to socialize so much and I’m actually rather introverted (can pass as an extrovert for short spurts of time) so for us, trying to find the balance is a challenge.

    Posts like yours challenge me all the more.

    Reply

    • hakea Says:

      Hi Hazel

      The Bogong moth (I think that’s what this one is) travels from the Snowy Mountains to the Sydney area in summer to fulfil some life purpose, I’m not sure what, breeding probably. Some years there are mega heaps of them. This is the biggest one I think I have ever seen. The Aboriginal people used them as a food source, apparently they are a good source of fats and taste nutty when fried.

      We had one extrovert in our family, the youngest, and then when he went to school he turned into an introvert. Although our kids love to stay home, they also love to be busy and get involved in things. You see the debate in the media occasionally about how much activity is too much for kids. All of our kid’s activity is driven by them, they initiate it and keep their own motivation, and we provide the transport and keep them nourished (food, sleep, love).

      I’d been umming and ahhing about the kungfu for quite a while. The boys came home one day with a flyer and said it was something they definitely wanted to do, and they kept putting the flyer under my nose. Eventually, we all discussed it, and decided to give it a go. The owner was very helpful, and to avoid having to go there two nights per week, he put our youngest (4 at the time) in an older class. Well, two of my boys have thrived in that environment. The middle boy decided it was something he didn’t enjoy. It’s such a lovely school, very family friendly, warm and supportive, and firm friendships have been made. My husband who had been teaching kungfu voluntarily for twenty years for another school, was invited to teach at this one and be paid for it. It’s funny how things evolve, and all because the boys insisted that they go to that school just from the flyer.

      In this debate, I’ve not seen belonging and connection mentioned. My boys used to do dance when they were younger, and we were careful to go to studios that catered for boys and didn’t place pressure on the children to perform. Soccer can be too serious too in some clubs, but the club we go to places priority on fun and skills.

      Reply

  3. eof737 Says:

    That moth looks like the one that perched on my daughter’s shoulder at Osaka Airport. It was the scariest thing and i sprung into action like a warrior… 😆

    Reply

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