I love old-fashioned. I really do. Maybe it’s because old-fashioned to me is defined as … my childhood, grandmothers, cups of tea, climbing trees, simple good food, tablecloths, colouring in, knitting and crochet, the library … It all makes me feel safe, nourished, loved, and I think that’s because everything old-fashioned reminds me of my grandmothers and times I spent with them when I was a child.
Taking an old-fashioned approach to things around here suits me just fine. We’re a modern household, living in mostly modern ways (no twin-tub washing machine thanks!), but there are lots of ways I try and take the road already travelled. Especially when it comes to raising the kids.
The school holidays are a time for bringing things down a notch, keeping things simple, and of switching off and tuning out. The kids live a highly structured and busy life when they’re at school, and I want the exact opposite for them when they’re on holidays. It means they spend a lot of time at home, having to amuse themselves, and I love it for two reasons.
For the kids, it means they reconnect with home life as something more than a place to stop and eat in between school days and activities. It is a chance for them to really enjoy and appreciate their home. It means they look deep into their cupboards for toys and games they rarely play with during school term, getting use out of things that otherwise would just go to waste. They rediscover the blessings they have in the backyard – climbing trees, digging in dirt, playing in the lake, swimming in the pool, riding bikes and skateboards and discovering critters until dark. And they get used to each other again, strengthening the brother-sister bond that comes loose when they’re focused on their own friends during term.
For me, it makes my life easier. Sounds selfish, so it must be a good thing. School life impacts on my life too, so the holidays are my chance to swing things back to my advantage a bit – which means as little running around as possible, and lazy days, slow mornings and no clock-watching. I may have to break up the occasional fight and bickering, but after the first day or so, the kids are back in the mode of playing with each other and happy for the most part and the days just flow.
There is space and peace in simplicity. There is rejuvenation and nourishment in being home. And I want the kids to learn to look within for these things, not always seeking entertainment without, and to value home and family as their safe places to fall.
What approach do you take to the holidays? And do you like old-fashioned?[hr]
I’ll be discussing this topic on the Parenting Panel on 91.7 ABC Coast Radio tomorrow morning just after 10am. You can listen live online – just follow the link that’s to the right of the page.