What do I mean by kid’s time? Children need time to be kids. It sounds such a simple concept for those of us not trapped within the soccer mom or soccer dad bubble.
Here is the thing. You ask most stay at home parents about the children extra-curricular activities (those organized repetitive activities like soccer, gymnastics, piano lessons, play centers etc.) and you will soon see that every waking moments seems to be filled up with structure.
I really don’t understand the obsession. Yes, it becomes an obsession once the sewing circles meet up at the local coffee shop (or book club) and start out doing each other.
Spare time. It shouldn’t be foreign to kids and it shouldn’t be removed from their childhoods.
Back When I Was a Boy
I love throwing out that phrase. It used to really annoy the hell out of me when I was younger and some old bloke starting off with that. Now I am old I can be the same instigator.
So, back when I was a boy spare time wasn’t a thing. All you time was just time you had to do something with. If your parents didn’t have something for you to do the last thing you were ever going to do was to ask them to find something.
Those were the times when you stood up or got on your bike and motored on out of the house looking for some adventure and making it up as you went on.
Imagination Lost, Creativity Lost
The sad truth is that today most kids are also stuck within this soccer mom bubble and when you manage to give them some spare time they can’t figure out what to do with it, or with themselves.
These types of children with spare time is akin to a deer in headlight: the anxiety builds and builds up until something prolapses and makes a mess on the floor.
For some reason they don’t have an ounce of imagination. It’s like its all been beaten out of them. The sad truth is also that as you get older that imagination becomes extremely hard to get back again.
Common Sense Lost
Now I have been studying the Art of Common Sense for near on 30 years. Yes, it has become an Art. Some people practice common sense, some people just don’t grasp the concept.
There are no training courses, there are no teachers, there are no on-line university courses that can teach you common sense.
About the only thing that I have managed to work out that does contribute to someone building their common sense is trying things, making mistakes, learning from their mistakes then using that applied knowledge in a broader range of things to start the cycle again.
If you have got any more insight than that do us all a favor and share the wisdom.
So that brings me to the phrase Cotton wool kids. The culture we live in doesn’t allow kids to get out there try things, make mistakes and learn anything on their own. Stranger danger takes precedence. Or some other catch phrase. The kids are being force fed someone else’s idea of common sense and living their life on someone else’s path.
The group mentality and the group value of sameness has taken hold. I can see it all from outside the bubble.
Multigenerational Followers Compounded by a Loss of Self-sufficiency
One of my biggest fears resultant from all this structure is twofold. First concern is that people will become addicted to all this activity, distraction, structure and shiny attention to the point that ego’s get over-inflated. Egotism then breeds bigger problems (such as solipsism and narcissism) but in some sort of subtle and scary way it also feeds the dependence on the external (structure) and creates a big separation from the internal (your own personal style of happiness).
The second concern is that this has been going on long enough now for parent to pass down the disorders to their kids and exaggerate it second time around. Don’t believe me have a gander at any of those TV shows about child beauty pageants or toddlers and tiaras.
The Winner is: Consumerism
On a side note: all this consumption of organized services just strengthens the gap between the middle class and the capitalists.
Sometimes you think that the distraction culture wasn’t a mistake but some sort of result of a long term social engineering program.
Fear is the vehicle which drives such consumerism. If you boil it right down to the essence: fear of you not being happy enough with yourself. You may never see this for yourself because of all the distractions.
Loss of Spirituality, Loss of Local Community and Lost Family Units
So, my sight is about divorce and fatherhood, right. What’s any of this got to do with family courts or kids growing up without fathers. Stick with me, I am about to join the last few dots so that you can see the big picture. I didn’t see it all until I got most way through the article.
The churches and organized religions in general have seen a fairly steady decline over the last few generations. This brings a loss of spirituality. You have probably never though much about it but I have. Spirituality (if you have it) in any form will bring you a sense of something greater and something more universal than your little day to day isolated world.
Without a good solid sense of your origins you can only play the jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces. The result is an undervalued sense of your own potential and that same ego driven separation you’re your internal understanding.
Local community. Going back to my grandfather’s time there used to be elder within the local communities that would teach young people all this kind of important knowledge and also steer the wayward parents back onto their correct path. Not anymore. Globalisation has killed the local communities.
Sadly, this bring us to the last connection on the journey to fatherhood. Certain movements within this culture of consumerism has taken large strides to break down all remnants of the traditional nuclear family. The kind of family where a kid can grow up with a mother and a father.
Do your kids a favour and give them the gift of free time.