Over-reaction when life has changed

Among the recent headlines in Greeley: “Summer Programs Cancelled”. That prompted this reaction:

“Oh, kids need organized activities! There’ll be more suicides!”


I grew up a half a mile outside the nearest town. Not a huge distance, but enough that it was inconvenient at times.

That town? 150 people. Take away the parents who leave each weekday to go to work and you get a very limited population.

Organized activities: local baseball, 13 games tops, maybe 5 practices at most. Had to bus to swimming lessons. If we wanted to visit the library, mom or another parent had to take us because those were in the same town as the swimming pool.

That’s it.

Bike rides. Tennis on the concrete court. Reading. Basketball on the slab in front of the garage. Scratch baseball at the field, even if it was just two of us practicing.

Kids are resourceful enough, they can organize their own activities, especially in a city of 100,000 people. Sure the swimming pools are out, but the skate parks have opened. Playgrounds are closed for the moment, but someone your kids know probably has a basketball hoop in the driveway. It only takes two to play catch.

If anything, we over organize the lives of kids nowadays, mostly to use those things as daycare while parents are at work. There’s this drive to have the kids constantly doing something, sometimes in pursuit of athletic prowess in the hopes of scholarships, sometimes just to have them under someone’s watch.

Step back this summer. Encourage your kids to take the initiative to organize their own events. Don’t believe that you have to have someone watching them constantly. Let them use their imagination, even if it just leads them to reading. or, heaven forbid, playing video games (within reason).

Let them build their own resourcefulness this summer. It’ll pay off in spades in both your life and theirs.