If I ruled the world (and that is my 5-year plan), I’d start an after-school program that would leave Gymboree, Kumon and a million Mandarin lessons in the dust. That’s because it would almost guarantee that the participants ended up more self-reliant, successful and happy than their peers. And thinner!
The program would consist of kids coming to my home, whereupon I’d shoo them out again.
For, let’s say, $300 for eight weeks (you figure out the pounds), I would NOT supervise your kids one day a week after school. They’d be outdoors on their own. At dusk, parents could come pick them up…though after a few weeks, I’m sure the kids would want to walk or bike home by themselves.
Free time outside is something Mother Nature always expected our young to have, so that’s where she packed all her big lessons. Kids building dens learn to communicate, compromise, solve the problem of a roof falling in. Big problem! Kids playing ball learn to focus. Hide & seekers learn patience and bravery. Tree climbers have the world at their feet…forever.
These days we’re giving kids trophies for the most minor of feats because we recognize something is missing – a sense of joy and accomplishment. But those aren’t things we can Botox in. A kid has to get them on his own.
Outside, like pinecones and dandelions, that joy is there for the taking. All that kids need is a little time there on their own.
I’ll be taking applications in the fall.