"My son plays soccer, aussie rules and basketball - it takes this much exercise to keep him settled"
This was a snippet of a conversation I heard recently and it lead to days of speculation on my behalf. I lead a fairly busy life so to have a single sentence stay with me that long is quite significant. The questions I was asking myself were:
1. Does my own son have an appropriate balance of exercise in his life?
2. Are 3 rostered sports too much for a child and would it effect his ability to learn?
3. How much exercise did I do as a child?
4. How much exercise did my Dad do as a child?
5. What am I going to cook for dinner (I like to multi task even when pondering)
6. Am I just putting more pressure on myself to get something else "right" should I just let it go and worry about something else?
7. Is that a dead guinea pig in the garden? (losing focus now)
For those that know me in real life I have really boy- ish boys. They are active, like to rough and tumble at any opportunity ( appropriate or not) and sport rules over school work on every occasion (except if dead animals are involved - see lovely headpiece I as presented with after a school excursion). They have a lot of energy to burn and I guess this is why this statement resonated with me.
If I look at my own child hood as an only child, my only opportunity to play after school was if I jumped on my bike and hit the streets with the neighborhood kids so riding around for hours was pretty normal. I did one organized sport every term with one night training and one match other than that I was freelancing all over the suburb with my pack of friends. (We in fact called ourselves the Devils Angles.... I had misspelt angels on the t- shirts).
In a previous post I referred to my Dad"s childhood where he spent hours after school running with grey hounds as his dad (my Grandfather) trained and raced them professionally. Go back another generation and my Grandfather would have spent his afternoons chopping wood, walking long distances and doing a lot more manual tasks for the home because it was necessary and I can guarantee not enjoyable.
So where are we at today?
Let's get it out there and say children (mine especially) are spoilt. The fear of being assaulted or stolen has lead many families (mine) to keep kids at home and not roaming the streets. My love and protection has resulted in me controlling their opportunities for random exercise. Exercise is more structured, organized and regimented. Parents are running from one activity to another (me)in order for fulfill the kid's desires to play/ try / leave any number of sporting activities. And dare I say it may be my desire not to drive around like a mad woman every day that results in me limiting what activities we sign on for .....
So..... How much is too much? How much is too little? If you are not doing and activity after school what are you (my kids) doing with their time ? ( see; Minecraft, Mooshie Monsters and Club Penguin).
I don't propose to have the answer but I have a plan (besides world domination through blogging). Stay on this journey with me while I investigate childhood obesity, generational changes in parenting and most importantly - what happens if I remove the tv and computer for my children"s life?