The Book

Children’s time

From the book:

“When my younger son was eight we lived in a one bedroom apartment  in a co-op building in  Brooklyn, NY. Our apartment was a small and bright place situated by a big and friendly lobby. There my son befriended a girl his age who also lived in the building, and I became friends with her mother. One day, the mother – who knew we were homeschooling – asked if  my son would like to go with her daughter to school for half a day. My son did; and so a few days later he joined his friend for what I called his field trip to school.

I came to pick him up at around noon that day. Curious to hear his impressions about school, I asked what he did and wanted to know how he liked it. He told me about the Spanish lesson, the art class and a couple of other things they did. He seemed pretty pleased with the experience so I asked if he would be interested in going to school. No, Mom, he said, it will take too much of my time.

It was a surprisingly clear and simple answer, one that I did not expect. My first inclination was to dismiss it. What was he doing with his time, I wondered, that was so important? In my judgment it did not seem like he was keeping too busy or doing much of anything. I quickly caught myself and my automatic reaction and thought about what he just told me. It led me to reevaluate what I was seeing and to really appreciate what my son’s time meant to him.

We tend to dismiss it, but time is a precious commodity to anyone at any age, whether adult or child. It is the one thing that is very much finite, and children who get the chance to make decisions of what to do with their time rarely ask for suggestions. They seem to instinctively know how to use it from an extremely young age. Try and dissuade a one and a half-year old toddler from pursuing whatever he or she decided to pursue and you get a tantrum on your hands…”

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