When I was teaching first and second grade, my grandma gave me a book titled, Your Child from 6 to 12. This was a pamphlet written in 1950 by the US Department of Health, Eduction, and Welfare. I decided to skim through this before putting it in recycling. I had a few thoughts after reading this that I want to blog about.
1. Houses and where we live-
Our house is much larger than houses that families lived in the 50s, but we live in the city. My boys have their own bathroom and I have a separate master bathroom. I don't want to give up my bathroom, but there isn't the necessary sharing of living space that families used to have. The opportunity for physical activity is also cut down by where we live. That physical energy must be let out by children and sometimes that means getting in trouble for being too loud or wild considering we have neighbors close by. Recently a neighbor boy got a little wild and broke the fence connecting our yard to a different neighbor's yard. If we lived in the country there wouldn't even be a fence for our boys to need to be careful not to break. We wouldn't have to abide by HOA rules.
2. Family Size-
The average family size is smaller than the 50s. We are blessed with several children in our neighborhood for our boys to play with. But there is a big difference between playing with neighborhood children and having siblings to always play with. I am thankful that each of my boys has two brothers to play with and wish that my boys also had sisters. With a smaller family each Lamb gets more individual attention from Ram and Ewe than if we had a larger family. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes I think it would be better for them to have to figure more out on their own and have siblings help each other more.
We don't have to do as much physical activity at our households as they did in the 50s thanks to washing machines and dishwashers and lawn mowers and more household servants. Even if I give the Lambs chores they are drastically different than chores that my parents did.
The average family doesn't stay home together in their free time any more. The one exception is that we rarely go to the movie theater, when we watch a movie together it is usually at home. But the other activities that we do as a family aren't usually at home, we go to a park or pay to go to a baseball game etc. Gone are the old fashioned family sing alongs. We don't expect our children to find their own activities to play together in their free time. They have so many toys (in our house, it is Legos) that they don't even play with all of them.
I have been shocked in my brand new neighborhood how often the neighbors move. There seems to always be a house for sale on our street. Much of this is because of job transfers and some is because they really couldn't afford the house they bought. But some is just they move on to a bigger house or better neighborhood because they want to. This makes it difficult for children to form relationships in their neighborhood. And Ram and I don't have any adult friends in our neighborhood other than knowing their names.
6. Going to camp-
This pamphlet highly recommended sending your child to camp away from home as a necessary skill as they grow up. I must admit that none of my Lambs have ever spent the night away from home. Today many children attend day camp but few go away for a week. This is on our list to send them to a Lutheran Camp soon, but hasn't happened yet.
Lamb 1 has been frustrated playing with neighborhood friends recently. It is rare that our family and a neighborhood family are both home long enough to really play a whole game that he wants to play like a football game. And when they do have a long time to play the other kids don't want to just play one game for a long time, they want to do several activities. They don't have the focus to keep at one game. I feel sorry for Lamb 1, but know there is really nothing we can do about this. And we give them bikes and scooters and so many toys that they don't come up with their own games to play for an afternoon.
I have more to blog about this so this is to be continued...