Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What is the value and how do we deliver it more simply?

That's the question I'm asking this year.

I'm asking this question at meetings when someone suggests we need to run an event. I'm trying to point out that the children in our area are privileged, and parents are tired. Their regular activities fill a week. Everything extra adds to the stress of family life.  When do families have time to visit grandparents on the weekend?

What is the value of band camp, when you are transporting all the people and equipment involved to another place, which takes a lot of planning and money, and is a disruption to family life, and results in children not sleeping. Couldn't the value that comes from playing together for an intensive rehearsal period be addressed by a weekend workshop at school? What is the value of the school fete and how can we achieve good enough outcomes without exhausting a hundred people? What is the value of an overseas trip? Don't we have great teachers, and performance opportunities in Sydney?Are these extra experiences for our kids going to be on their resumes and mean the difference between getting a job and not getting a job? Not likely, when they are mostly heading to university and the opportunities listed on their resumes mostly tell a prospective employer that their parents had money.

I'm asking questions to suggest we stop the spiral of making everything bigger and better, and the unspoken expectation now that children must do everything and go everywhere before they finish school. You don't need to keep up with what other schools offer. Life is not a competition and childhood is not a race.


sister outlaws said...

"Life is not a competition and childhood is not a race." Please print this onto t-shirts. I completely agree. I've pulled back on the extra curricular activities this term and we are loving hanging out at home, riding our bikes, going to the park, making stuff. I feel like I've stepped off a treadmill and am able to enjoy my children more!

Motherhugger said...

I really should find more courage to say 'no'. Equity issues when one child has been allowed an activity if the others aren't. Instead I'm trying to encourage organisers to downshift.

Motherhugger said...

And I don't understand the sudden change of message. All year it's about eating good food, getting enough sleep, taking care of yourself, and then it's suddenly - here - sell these chocolates as a fundraiser, stay up all night and feel wrecked.

Motherhugger said...

Yay. Two children have left their band programs. I'll book my ticket to New York now!