April 21, 2009

Taking Time to Play

Laura and Mary Ingalls have been visiting lately.  They like to show up on sunny afternoons in their bonnets.  You would think that my name would be Ma.  Nope,  I get to be the mean storekeeper, Mrs. Olsen.  I can still hear her wail, "Nells!" to her on-screen husband.  My little man gets to be Pa. "Cause he hunts and shoots stuff."

I long for sun-drenched afternoons when my children drink in the day and get lost in their world of play.  Just listening to their imaginations run free reminds me that childhood is such a gift.
I am saddened by the schedules my children's friends are trying to maintain.  When did we, as a society, decide children needed to be involved in so many activities?  
As a mom, I sometimes get pulled into the "my child is involved in such and such" game.  But then I have to remember that those conversations are usually wrapped up in motherly pride.  Then I have to laugh.  Pride in what?  How many hours I logged in the driver's seat shuffling children from one activity to the next?  
When I see mini vans (the vehicle of choice for taxi moms) with multiple stickers touting the various activities of their young riders, I just roll my eyes.  Is it a badge of honor?  Is it necessary to state to the world that your family is over-committed?  

How about a sticker that says, 
"today they just played"
or "who needs to pay for fun... the back yard is free."
There is no pressure in my back yard.  It is a soccer field, a pirate ship, a jungle, a classroom, a home.
My children are free to laugh, love, learn, pretend, run, imagine and grow.

If you happen to stop by my house on a sunny afternoon, you just might find yourself in Little House on the Prairie world.  Don't be alarmed.  I'll make sure Mrs. Olsen is nice.

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16 comments:

Korect Bizz said...

Hi i like your blog its really nice!!

emily said...

When you begin to make and market those bumper stickers that say "today they just played", would you let me know because I'm totally buying one. And then, when you go on Oprah because she chose it as one of her Favorite Things, would you mention me? Thanks. Great post, btw :) Thanks for linking up.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I completely agree. My daughter is almost secluded from the other kids in her public school. Sometimes I feel bad for her, but then I watch her play & know she's leaps above those kids that have no imagination b/c they're always in some class to be told how to do something. I think you're right on. Also, I remember playing Laura & Mary with my friends. Laura Ingalls was inspiration for my daughters name!

Julie@ ohsweetchaos.blogspot.com

JCWillow99@gmail.com..( Cassie) said...

good post..I loved the little house on the praire books.

Carpoolqueen said...

I wanted to yank Nellie's hair. Oh, that was mean to say on your very sweet post.

I love the yard. But I have boys that are afraid of nature. So we play Legos on the deck.

And lay on our backs and watch clouds.

Tracey said...

Beautiful! And the pictures! WOW! And the words...Totally agree..I want my kids to know each other, to grow up as friends, and you cannot do that if everyone is in different places.

Sandy Toes said...

Very sweet...I love Little House on The Prairie!
sandy toe

Mom said...

I love the pictures & what memories they bring back! Especially since one of them was wearing a dress I made for you when you were a little girl! How thankful I am that you have this attitude & are letting them just be children! It is such a short time in life. I love you!!!

Kellie said...

I totally agree. We aren't involved in very much outside of school and church but sometimes I feel that is too much! I will never regret allowing my children to PLAY. They grow up fast enough as it is. I agree with EVERY word you wrote!

Mom said...

I definitely want a copy of that picture of them sitting on the swing. How beautiful!

melissa said...

i love this post. i ABSOLUTELY agree...even though i totally overcommit myself all the time. in my heart, i want to get back to laura ingles days. i've actually been pining away to find some of those dvds on a good sale! and i'm with em about the bumper sticker!!

Tammi said...

I am in total agreement. I want to teach my kids that "being" is much more important than "doing"...

I believe that things like imagination and solitude are becoming a lost art~ not just because we don't do them, but because we don't allow our kids the time to practice them.

P.S. I'll take a bumper sticker too. ;)

Sarah said...

I couldn't agree more! Amen to that!

Miss Dixie said...

I love the pictures,I love the girls in the pictures and they do look just like Mary and Laura--one of my favorite movie series! You are a wise Mom to let your children be children, the time will come soon enough when they will have to move on, but not now. I salute you, my dear and precious friend.

Momofgirls said...

Love it!! I agree 100%! Kids don't "have time" to play anymore!

Wish I could come over...I wouldn't even mind being...Nellie!

Mom said...

I think you've found a new "career"...designing & making bumper stickers!