Each year as the school year winds down I make the same goal: "I'm going to let my kids be kids for the summer. Let them imagine and have down-time. We're going to hang out just the six of us and go to the library and have our own kind of field trips. I'm not going to over schedule them for the summer like I did last year." Yep, every year that's my goal. And without fail, every year I end up being frustrated. Because all of a sudden, once again, these kids are mysteriously signed up for everything under the sun.
So this year, true to form, as summer sneaks up on us in a few days, I've found us signed up for swim team, gymnastics, basketball camp, piano, tennis, possibilities of cooking class, volleyball camp, acting classes, art classes and singing classes. You name it, there's a class for it, and man oh man those classes are darn tempting!
And it's not even the kids that are begging for them a lot of the time! It's me thinking, "oh this would be so great for so-and-so." I struggle because sure, all those things could help my kids learn a lot. Who knows, maybe Elle will be an awesome volleyball player if I just sign her up for camp this summer. She's going to be so tall, maybe that's her "calling" and she would miss out on it if I don't let her go. Maybe we'll uncover that Grace is a natural actress (put in practice by all her daily dramatics), if she only takes that acting class. And Max, he's quite an artist, wouldn't that art class give him some great confidence? And poor Claire, I keep having this feeling that if we put her in a gymnastics class she really could take off...she seems to have inherited a little more of Dave's coordination than mine which could really help her in the long run!
The list goes on and on. How do you find the balance between what to put your kids in, letting them experience the world, magnify their talents, figure out what they're gifted in, and keeping them at your side, cherishing that time as long as you can and letting them have down time? My ideal summer would be to live on a desert island, just our little family, and work on things together...no interruptions. But that's not going to happen, gosh darn it. I have to figure out how to balance life as it is.
So, I'm putting on the brakes on summer stuff for now. No more lessons or classes on top of what we have already.
Because, as much as all those classes and ideas of grandeur would be wonderful, they still can't compete with the confidence and self-assurance that comes from just hanging out with a mom who loves them, each other as they develop great relationships, friends as they learn to lead and make good decisions, and down time to let their imaginations run wild.
I think in the long run, those are the things that will matter most to help those seeds of greatness start to blossom into what they're destined to be some day.