Part of the reason I run a day care in my home is that I never have to find care for my kids. This means really awesome summers for them. Sure they may be bored some of the time, but mostly they get to hang out, play on the computer, get wet when they’re hot, snack all day, and have friends over whenever they want.
But the past couple of years I’ve been hearing a lot of voices that tell me my kids shouldn’t just lay around at home all day. They should be out, doing stuff, being challenged, gaining independence.
So this year we signed them up for a week of sports camp. It wasn’t even full day, it was easy, 9:00 – 12:00 – that’s nothing! They both love to play and have plenty of energy and OK, they are laying around doing nothing all day so all the voices are probably right. Fifteen hours out of the entire summer isn’t too much to ask.
Two days and several meltdowns later, I caved. I never let them quit anything. They may not love it but once they begin, they have to finish. And they never have to do it again, but quitting is never an option.
This time I just couldn’t do it. They were exhausted. Three hours running hard out in the hot sun, and then they ended up having practice in the evenings – they were beginning to resent playing. So we decided that if it’s taking the fun out of the sport, it’s not worth it.
Still I couldn’t help feeling like it was the wrong thing to do. So I did what I always do, and asked all my friends to tell me it was OK. My friend Lynne reminded me of how much fun one of my day care graduates had when she came back to visit for a day. She asked, “Why do you think she’s been wanting to come back? Because it feels like home.” And hanging out at home isn’t all bad. She said her son was a homebody as a child but is now a world traveler. It reminded me that one week in their childhood summer wasn’t going to define the rest of their lives.
Then Michelle capped it. When I said all my boys want to do is stay home, she said, “They’ll be saying anything to leave soon enough.” Yep. Screw summer camp.