Thursday, April 12, 2012

Too Busy

A few days ago, a classmate of mine asked our teacher, "Wouldn't it be great if we all lived in the  time of 'The Sandlot?'"

The man is forty. The movie is set in the summer of 1962.
I have three brothers who play baseball. And by play, I mean live. This is the third consecutive year we've set up a batting cage with a picthing machine in our backyard. To them, baseball is lugging around bag full of bats and mits and water bottles. It's being on time to hour long practices several days a week. It's spending Saturdays at the baseball park.
It's normal.
They've played outside the city sponsored diamonds. Bats aren't allowed in school, but they've played a few times. They've always played in our backyard, whether the batting cage is up or not. They played in the living room and kitchen until they got too big, using pillows as bases and a foam sword or lightsaber for a bat.
But to my knowledge, they've never played in a vacant lot.

It looks fun.
Yesterday my mom was bringing me home from gymnastics when I saw three of my friends lying around on the sidewalk. We pulled over to talk to them. They asked if they could ride on the back of our car. My mom wouldn't let them. But she did let me run out and play with them, so long as I did my two hours or so of homework and piano afterwards.
I don't usually hang out with friends beyond school and church. I'm not that busy. I'm enrolled in gymnastics and piano, work parttime, and I'm taking all honors classes plus AP geography. Not an overload, but factor in school, random orthodontist appointments, my blogs, reading for my other blog, sleeping, and the novel I write for about an hour and a half everyday (usually somewhere between midnight and one), I don't have the time. So of course I jumped at this chance and procrastinated a few assignments I'm still procrastinating now.
We armed ourselves with four swords, (two nerf, one plastic, one wooden), two shields, and a foam battleax, and ran through acid. Otherwise known as lawn sprinklers. But it was acid.
We also jumped off my one story deck, a fall of about ten feet. Unless you subtract the railing, which we stepped over. And our height, around five feet for each of us. And the porch, which is about as thick as my hand. And the trampoline underneath.

Most people-parents especially-don't see fun like this as beneficial. There are only 86,400 seconds in a day, and we must invest them wisely if we want to get into a good university.
I saw this article on I didn't change a word.

Keep teenagers busy - find out why...

The most basic reason it is vital to keep our children busy is not to use the teenage years to introduce them to the wonders of the arts, great literature, or even for them to become sporting stars. It is simply to make them so exhausted that they don’t have the energy to get into trouble. The very last thing the testing teenager needs is a six-week school holiday where he is at home alone, with no idea what to do on day one, never mind day thirty-one. The same is true of evenings and weekends.
With the bold letters, you almost wonder if they're being sarcastic. Sadly, no. And by the way, not all "testing teenagers" are boys. At least, not in America. This is British writing, but I'm fairly sure England is one of those newfangled nations where boys and girls can go to school. In the same building, even. 
The kids in Sandlot got in their fair share of trouble. They do chew tobacco and go on a carnival ride immediately after, which the narrator describes as "the stupidest thing we ever did". 
This about the same group of kids who hit a Babe Ruth baseball over the fence, got themselves chased around the entire town by a killer dog, faked drowning to get a kiss from the lifeguard, and were banned from the swimming pool because of it.
And you know what? They learned from their mistakes. Did you see the kids chewing once after that?
Back to the article. Why "testing" teenager? Isn't there more to life than bringing home a good report card to Momma?
Aw, a gold star. Precious. 
Say this girl-let's call her Eulalia-stays inside for most of her childhood, watching educational television and playing educational video games. She learns to read impressively fat books and test well. She's a member of the National Honor Society, chess club, cheer squad, and cleans up highways in her spare time. Eulalia goes to a good university, then to a good grad school, then to a good post grad school, and eventually tries to hold down a job. She has no experience making her own choices, so she blows it all partying and racks up some impressive credit card debt.
Now Eulalia's parents have their adorable daughter living inside their house. At age twenty-eight.
sleeping on couch

1 comment:

  1. Another great post. When my kids started high school and some college, I asked my brother, Neil, in front of them, what advice he would give them. (He was the brainiac in the family and is extremely successful. But, I was not expecting these words. "Have fun. Don't work too hard. Take easier classes. Because you'll be working hard your whole life." He went on to explain that he took hard classes all through school, all through college and had little time for friends and "social stuff." Now he just works hard all day. He feels like he missed out on his childhood.

    10 years later, I think it's great advice.