Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so plugged into the news. Because if I wasn’t a journalist addicted to the Internet, I might never have seen this piece of shit article.
If you don’t feel like clicking over, here’s the synopsis:
Kids have busy lives. They have school, sports and extracurricular activities up the wazoo. They’re stressed and frazzled. Moreover, their parents are stressed out too because they have to drive them from soccer practice to guitar lessons to drama club rehearsal, and then they’re up until midnight finishing their homework. Their whole lives are structured and none of them get any free time to sit back, enjoy life and smell the roses. Something must be done to save the kids and their tired parents.
The answer, according to this article, is something called “Slow Parenting.” The idea, according to “experts,” is that the frenetic schedules most kids keep nowadays is taxing. So the answer is doing away with some structured activity and replacing it with free time during which everyone in the family can relax together. This will slow down life’s chaotic pace and give kids and parents time to reconnect.
Or at least that’s what the people pimping this program want you to believe. But I’m not buying it.
First of all, the marketing wizard who thought it was a good idea to use the word “slow” to describe this has to be a little slow himself. Not the brightest idea in the world to connect your product to a word that can mean dumb. Yet dumb is exactly the word I’d use when discussing this.
There is nothing wrong with kids having a crazy schedule. There is nothing wrong with playing sports, learning an instrument and joining various clubs in addition to going to school. In fact, that is ideal. I was an honor roll student in high school and I played three sports a year. In addition to that I played three instruments, acted in a few plays and worked part-time from the time I was 15 years old. Not only that, but my younger brother had a similar schedule. So my parents were constantly shuttling us to various places both during the week, and on weekends, on a virtually non-stop basis.
But guess what? I still had time for family. We didn’t sit around the dinner table like the Brady Bunch, but I always managed to catch up with my parents at some point during the day. And both of my parents made the effort to carve out a little one-on-time throughout the week and also made sure to take trips and do things with us, so I was never lacking any Kodak moments. And because I kept busy, I had good grades that allowed me into a good college that accepted me, in part, because I was a well-rounded person who was always involved in something.
So to suggest that parents should slow things down is not only dumb, it’s wrong. Personally I think the majority of parents are too slow already. If anything, they should speed things up. Get themselves and their kids more involved, not less. Sure you have to remember to stop and smell the roses once in a while, but I think you can do that while simultaneously carrying on everything else in life.
Besides, a kid who is playing sports and acting in the drama club is probably not causing trouble on the street or getting into drugs.
And what really upsets me is that some parents are signing up for “Slow Parenting” classes and seminars. Are you kidding me??? Do you really need a class or an instructor to tell you how to be lazy and not take your kids to all of their activities? It’s just another racket from someone calling him/herself an “expert,” in order to make tired, lazy parents feel OK about shirking their responsibilities, under the guise of “Well you need to slow things down FOR THE KIDS.”
Not to mention I’m sure there is a tidy little fee parents have to pay to learn how to become “Slow Parents,” which is absolutely ridiculous. Can you imagine the commercial for “Slow Parenting?”
Are you tired of having an involved child? Are you missing your favorite TV shows because you have to pick your kid up from baseball and then take him to Scouts later in the night? Would you like to get some rest from your busy lives, but want to avoid the guilt of being a shitty parent? Well you’re in luck, because today we’re introducing “Slow Parenting”: the revolutionary new parenting method that allows you to stop running around all the time while simultaneously convincing you it’s all for the benefit of your children!
It’s such bullshit, because most kids want to learn. They want to try new things. And they thrive when challenged. Let’s not cut back on the amount of activities in which kids participate, let’s get MORE involved. But if you are a “Slow Parent,” don’t tell me you’re doing it for your kids. You’re doing it because you’re sick of running around everyday and you’re lazy.