Friday, March 29, 2019

Hot Wheels and Pill bugs

Michael is settling into a phase of play that I'm really enjoying seeing.  We are in a transition period here.  Tera is graduating in a couple of months and Daniel will be graduating next year.  Sometimes it feels like Michael is right on their heels in this growing up business.  He has really enjoyed participating in 4-H this year and with that has come quite a bit of competition opportunities .  While I think competition is an important learning experience, too  much of a good thing is never good.  In a couple of weeks he will compete at the county level in the 4th grade demonstration event as well as a photography contest.  We've known about this for a while and he's ready.  

Since then, two other competitive events came up and he wanted to participate in both of those as well.  We did contemplate it.  We even scheduled an extra private lesson in karate in preparation  and did research on a design for the other event.  But then something happened...

Last week, Michael went on a play date and re-discovered Hot Wheels.  Something changed.  We went from him practicing and talking about competitions to  just playing.  Now, he still wanted to compete in both the events.  BUT when I saw that he was spending more time collecting pill bugs and playing with Hot Wheels tracks than wanting to prepare for competition I wasn't convinced any more.  

I informed him and then his teacher that he wouldn't be competing.  I know they were both a bit disappointed and I have questioned whether or not we were did the right thing   But JP and I  felt he just wasn't ready... ready for the pressure, ready for the extra practices/work/commitment--he needs to just be a kid for as long as he wants to be.  Yes, he COULD do both, but not with our schedule as it is now. 

Today he had a friend over for a game day (board and card games) and then he just wandered around the yard in quiet contemplation and play.  We prepped for a big day his siblings have tomorrow and he went to fencing.  Not once has competition come up.  

It's in these moments of reflection that I don't regret letting him have that freedom of childhood that is so easily lost in our society (and even our family) today.  There will be plenty of times that he will be able to compete in things that he enjoys, but the days of Hot Wheels and pill bugs pass away quicker than we would hope! 


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