Monday, August 6, 2007

Missing out on what they wouldn't have done

Well it's August now and the boys are starting to get a little bored. Well, really they're not, what they're doing is spending what I think might be too much time in front of the TV and computer. So every so often I have to holler at them to go and read a book or something. I don't really have a good feel for how much is too much, since I recall spending enormous quantities of time consuming junk television as a child. Such as Beverly Hillbilly repeats, game shows, old "B" movies on Bill Kennedy, basically whatever was showing on Channel 50. And I can remember my mother hollering at me to go read a book or something, which I also did, but I know I watched a LOT of TV. What seems to be nagging at me is why are we not constantly engaged in enriching activities? Because it always seemed like when I was at work I was bemoaning all of the opportunities my children were missing out on because of our schedule. Hey...maybe this is the same thing as the going out of town phenomenon.

A couple of years ago this phenomenon was revealed to me by my friend Insun. We were at the nearby fake village outdoor mall, and she had just finished telling me all about a fabulous trip to California that they would be taking in two weeks. We were standing near a sign for entertainment that would be coming to the little gazebo on the fake main street. She pointed to one of them and said "Oh that would be nice to go to...but darn it we'll be out of town that day!" I then pointed out to her that whatever she would be doing in California would be far better than the free musician playing at the mall. Then she admitted "I know, but have you ever noticed that when you are going out of town you start to notice everything that will be happening on those days and feel like you are going to miss it?" That conversation stuck with me because I noticed myself doing the same thing whenever we had some trip or commitment planned for a weekend. I would see something else going on and feel like I might be missing out, and then stop myself, and think about whether I really would have done that if we were available. And often the answer was no.

I now understand that this same phenomenon was happening when I was at work, and I'd see a notice for 1/2 day vacation bible school or art camp or something at the library and feel all regretful that my kids couldn't do that. Now that I'm home we aren't doing all those things. The boys are playing together, or on the computer, or watching junk TV a lot of the time. I'm trying to keep a good balance of vegging out and doing constructive activities, but in the future when I'm at work I'll have a new perspective on what they really would do with their time given all possible choices, and not feeling like I'm depriving them of things they probably wouldn't have wanted to do anyways.


Mindy said...

OK, and I just noticed another one. Due to repairs I don't have a car today. So I keep thinking about all the places we could go, if only...

Anonymous said...

The difference working has made for me is this: Instead of being home all the time and planning how to get away when I can, when I work my mental attitude is that I WANT to be at home with Mark, Cale and Ramona. A much better mental state for our family. ............ and then there's shopping for "work" clothes :-)
Mary Beth

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention "Bewitched," "Munsters," "Adams Family," "I Dream of Jeannie," "Scooby Do," "The Brady Bunch," "Partridge Family," and "The Monkees." Most of which we watch daily.