As someone who has fond memories of T-ball and soccer (and not so fond memories of swimming and ice skating), I am ambivalent about our kids’ lack of organized activities. On the one hand, they are in school 50 hours a week, and why add to the stress with weekend shuttling? On the other hand, everyone else’s kids are doing something: piano, dance, gymnastics, and sometimes all of the above and then some. And, what would have happened if my parents decided they weren’t going to enroll me in anything when I was a kid?
One big difference between my childhood and my kids’ is that we live in a big city. On any given weekend, there might be two dozen fun (and often free) things to jump in on, whether the book fair and science fair going on down on the Parkway later today, or abundant other downtown excursions. I might not have had any human contact as a kid save for my parents shuttling me around; with our kids, they have plenty of friends and plenty of socialization. (A friend of mine once asked me, “Just how many parties have you taken your kids to this month?”)
I admit I feel a pang about not acculturating my kids through music lessons (although doesn’t the occasional free classical music concert at the Kimmel give them something there?), or missing out if in fact Aaron is the next coming of LeBron James or Garry Kasparov. And at some point, it will make sense for the kids to get into something organized, so they can learn how to stick with something and not get used to flitting from one activity to another.
But for now, they’re 6 and 4, so I’m going to let them be happy-go-lucky kids. Well, happy-go-lucky kids that know their way around an urban environment and learn to mingle with all sorts of people from all walks of life. Besides, a whole city’s worth of fun awaits them. And, as of later this month, I will be with subway pass, and don’t think I’m not going to use that for all it’s worth to tool around with the kids and see what sort of fun we can get ourselves into.