Thursday, October 23, 2014
Evening Rhythm and Activities
This post, from a few weeks ago, has generated a lot of interest (big thanks to those of you who shared it or pinned it). With so many reading it, I have had some emails with other questions that I hope to be able to answer through a few posts. One question that keeps popping up is how do we fit in/schedule extracurricular activities. There is a very simple answer, we don't.
I know for some this is hard to imagine, but it is what works for us. There are a number of reasons for our decision, but the one that holds the greatest weight is that we are not ready to disrupt our family life for activities. We have made a commitment to a slow, simple life, we have decided that we want to leave "busy" behind so we can sink into life and really soak it up, and we enjoy our family rhythm in the evenings and are just not ready to give that up yet with a lot of running around to activities.
We made this decision almost three years ago. Back then we did participate in a music class, but when all the children in the class turned four, and school called, our daytime class, which fit so lovely into our mornings, was moved to the evenings. Living rurally, we had a 30 minute drive, one way, to any of the three or four cities where we could do activities and that weighed heavily on my mind. As I tried to figure out an evening rhythm that might work with some of the activities that are common for young children, I actually got a pit in my stomach. I saw myself rushing to get dinner, hurrying Reece to eat so we could leave, pushing him out the door to the activity, and then rushing home for bath and bedtime. I pictured myself crashing on the sofa at the end of the night, exhausted and not motivated to do any of the things that I love to do, you know the things that make me happy, and make my heart sing. As Justin and I talked about it, we decided we wanted to protect our family dinner, we wanted to hold onto our evening rhythm, and we just weren't ready for the hustle and bustle that comes with evening activities.
So, over the last few years we have done just that, enjoyed our evenings. Each season offers a different perspective on our evening rhythm. Spring, and the return of light in the evenings, means the start of our after dinner family walks. In the summer dinners are enjoyed leisurely on the back deck, there is lots of playing and running around into the night, and then the work of trying to convince our little man that he should come in for a bath when the sun is still shining. Fall finds us soaking up the last bits of light after dinner with some outdoor play, and sometimes a walk in the fading light. Winter find us snuggling up and playing indoors after dinner. Our evenings are full, but full in a way that makes us happy, and content.
For now, this is what works for us. I know Reece will one day find interest in activities outside our home, and then things will change, but for now we will hold onto and treasure our family evenings together.