So far, 2020 has turned the world upside down in so many ways, none of them good. As a writer, I have seen much to decry and comment upon, but as the parent of a young child, it’s best that I focus on him and his immediate needs and leave the commentary to others who feel they are more qualified.
In this regard, the school year is trickling to its conclusion, which is probably a relief to every parent in America. Fortunately, Ronald’s transition from partial to total online classes was not traumatic or even difficult for him, so his education was not unduly disrupted. However, his summer will be quite different than it was in 2019.
Ronald loves acting, so his summer camps are always theater-based. He adores Shakespeare plays and was scheduled to attend the Youth Theater Camp at Theatricum Botanicum here in the Los Angeles area for the second year, culminating in the performance of a Shakespeare play. As with all camp activities, this one will now go online. How that will work, or even will it work, are questions that remain unanswered in this new COVID-dominated world.
Later in the summer, he’s scheduled for a musical theater camp that has, of course, also moved online this year. His YMCA soccer program is canceled, as are all youth sports, so this will be a summer of adaption, just as the spring has been. Fortunately, beaches and hiking trails are reopening, so we can get outside the house and breathe in much needed fresh air in those venues.
The one advantage of everything being online is the abundance of possible activities, some of which are free. If you have children and worry about how to keep them busy this summer, check out this link for a few ideas: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/15-online-camps-fill-kids-summer-with-learning-adventures
My one hope about this lockdown is that families will have learned to appreciate each other more than ever before. Hopefully, people will realize we don’t need to over-program our children, or ourselves, for that matter. Just sitting at home after dinner and playing board games is the kind of bonding time that will be gone all too quickly when our kids are grown and moved out on their own.
So here’s my suggestion: let’s enjoy our kids while we can and let them become professional athletes or dancers or actors or scholars or You Tubers or whatever when they’re older. Children want to do anything and everything right now because, like so many adults, they become easily addicted to “likes” and “views” and other forms of vicarious fame. It’s up to us, the parents, to balance out their lives.
No matter how much they may love a sport or dancing or acting or studying or any other pursuit, they need time each day to be children and engage in free play with other children. They may complain when you don’t let them attend a dancing class or soccer practice or play video games every day, but they will thank you down the line when they have children of their own and know how to feel comfortable simply playing with those children or letting them play with each other in unstructured activities.
We must safeguard this fleetingly short period of time for our children, whether they understand the reasons or not, because childhood is too short, and too precious, to waste, and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Here’s Ronald participating in his Physics and Cooking classes. I’m so grateful that I decided to homeschool him this year because his HS teachers did a fantastic job converting from in-person classes to online and keeping the work hands-on, so much so that Ronald felt completely engaged in the curriculum.