It’s ‘End of Term’! That lovely summer time of year when the sense of holiday hangs in the air like summer bees. The children are freed from routines and uniforms and it’s great to see them out and about with smiles of freedom on their faces instead of the usual tensions. It’s the parents who wear the tense look now with wails of ‘Oh God, how are we going to cope for six weeks’?
‘How do you stand them round you all day?’ folks used to ask when we were home educating. As if school was a dumping opportunity for parents to abdicate their responsibility of care and attention.
I do think that for many parents this is what school becomes and the holiday times in holiday towns are when I see the most gruesome examples of many parents who are disengaged (and disenchanted) with their children. You can tell that because much of their parenting involves shouting and the F word!
It’s only by being engaged with our children, by giving some attention to them and finding out who they are and them knowing who you are that we know how to cope with six weeks. For us it was ten years! And what grew out of that was a different kind of relationship; one that was not divided by ‘us’ and ‘them’, learning and life, school and home. It was just one learning family way of being. Together. A team. And anyway, we liked having our kids around; that’s why we had them!
I feel so sorry for children who are ignored for the most part, then screamed at. Sorry for the ones who are ‘minded’ by telly or technology rather than a caring adult who’ll take them to the park. Sorry for the ones who don’t know what to do with their time because they’ve never had anyone show them what wonderful things there are to do in the world, wonderful things to see, and how they might use their time to bring themselves fulfilment.
This all takes adult input, and I know adults are hard pressed sometimes with the need to work. But there are ways. And much of it is free and cheaper than child care. It just needs a different approach to the one we’re often conditioned to buy into. It just requires thinking outside the money box!
As I said before; time is the most valuable investment parents can make into their child. Holiday times are a chance to make huge deposits!