Right now, we are having the kind of Saturday morning I
remember as a kid.  We got up late,
snuggled in the quilts for a while and then slowly staggered into the living
room to watch silly Saturday morning cartoons and make silver dollar
pancakes.  Everyone has bed head,
there are Legos scattered on the rug, “Pound Puppies” is playing on the TV, and
I’m relaxing with a great cup of coffee as the cat attacks my ankles.  All Saturday mornings should be this
good.

This summer we decided to forego swim team for the first
time in four years.  It was a
bittersweet decision in that I believe in exercise and the good things that
come from sports, and in terms of life skills, swimming is about the best kids
sport around, but the early morning practices every single day and the all day
Saturday swim meets were not something I would miss.  I was right; I didn’t miss it at all, and surprisingly,
neither did Harper Lee.  There were
certain things we all missed, I’m sure, but overall, it was nice to have our
mornings and our Saturdays back for the very short summer we had this year.

As school began this week, I thought of all the other things
I might not miss as much if I actually decided not to participate.  I couldn’t think of many.  So many activities and commitments are
actually fun and beneficial, but Saturday mornings like this one sure do make
me pause and wonder.  This is fun
and beneficial too.

This song seems to be one that I sing a lot.  I constantly feel torn between the
extracurricular (and some not so extra) activities and the less scheduled, less
hectic life I remember from my own childhood.  When I talk to my friends, I see that either I actually do
manage to keep my life fairly in control (at least in comparison) or that they
are in the same boat.  Most of the
other moms I know feel that constant struggle of maintaining a good balance
between enrichment activities and a simple home life, one that encourages free
play and imagination, rest and maybe even a little boredom. 

Boredom has gotten a bad rap in recent years.  It’s as if we have become afraid of
having nothing to do or of not having constant and instant entertainment.  A friend of mine who coaches
cross-country was telling me about his problem with recruiting kids who are
interested in running and actually training to race.  This is not really a new problem.  The workouts are hard, sure, but there is a great deal of
satisfaction to be gained from that. 
I told him that I thought one of the problems that face many young
people now is that they don’t know how to have fun—at least fun that isn’t
downloaded first.  Cross-country is
definitely not for wimps, and there is a lot of sweat, dirt, aching muscles and
heaving lungs, as well as the occasional blood, involved, and if you’re like
me, that’s the fun right there, but even if you’re not like me, the fun can be
found in the camaraderie, the time spent running through creeks and up rocky
embankments, pinecone wars, climbing trees, mud fights and close encounters
with wildlife.  It’s the only sport
I can think of in high school that involves such a high level of adventure, but
in order to access it, you have to have an imagination, a sense of wonder and a
desire to play.  It’s not programmed
for you; you might have to be a little bored first.

I’m all too familiar with the pull society seems to have on
all of us.  It sounds utterly
ridiculous, but the reason there are so many websites, blogs, books and
articles on how to slow down and enjoy life is because the world is on full
speed and even when you want to slow down, it is sometimes harder than it
sounds.  No one wants to miss out
on all the good stuff that’s going on while they wallow in the boredom of home,
but then I have a morning like this, and I see that what we all too often
forget is all the good that is right here in the wallowing.

At the risk of dating
myself too much and sounding like one of those, “When I was a kid…” people, I
have to say there’s something to be said for a morning of no activities.  As Harper Lee hula-hoops and makes up
songs about bologna sandwiches and Isaac builds elaborate Lego mazes for his
mouse, Archer, I don’t feel the least bit guilty or worried about what might be
going on outside our front door.  Adventure
can be found right here 

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