I found myself listening to a couple of students today as they were recounting what they had to do this afternoon. One has an after-school job until 9; one has a practice until 6 and then a meeting, and then she'd finally be home around 7 or 8. This is the case for many students, and I have to ask, "What is it all for?"
And, it goes without saying that all this causes me to examine my own life as well. I am usually at school by 6:30 a.m., trying to stay one step ahead of the students in this, my first year of teaching. After school, I head to the physical therapist for an hour and a half long session for my disc problem which was brought on by carrying around two adorable, yet hefty, bundles of joy. Then, I rush either to their daycare center or home so that my husband can rush off to his graduate class or rehearsal. And my children are only 2 and a half and 10 months. What are we going to be like when they are teens?
I feel as though at some point, something is going to have to give. We can't sustain this kind of life for much longer, at least not if we want to have some enjoyment in life. And nothing is more important than our children, and I have to ask myself if our current schedule reflects that. Sure, I can't help physical therapy, Mike can't help when the classes that he needs are offered. But we can consciously pare down our activities as a family, and as a society.
I often encounter children who are struggling academically, whose parents are either at work, or otherwise absent when the kids are at home. These children do more than struggle academically: they struggle socially and they lack self-esteem. Indeed, why shouldn't they? The message is loud and clear: "I don't make time for you because you aren't important enough to me."
It is time that we ask ourselves if this is the message we want sent to our children.