We almost never go to movies, but Sunday was our day because the forecast called for rain. Do you avoid going to the movies unless it’s raining? Do you have limitless entertainment options mapped to screens around your home but almost never partake because your family is always on the move?
We miss virtually every first run movie at the theater, but I contend that being very busy people and on the move are good things for us and the young people in our lives. We are teaching them about prioritizing, decision making, and elevating their capacity to go, do, and manage many interests simultaneously. We are teaching them balance.
I would have never taught any of my children to ride a bike by just telling them or showing them YouTube videos. Nope, I think virtually every kind of balance can be taught best while on the move!
We all know the negatives of sedentary lifestyles. Thankfully, our children’s activities can supercharge the extent to which we are on the move, too. (Insert the name of your kid’s travel team sport here!) But no matter what our kids are into, I find that families in well-educated communities like Zionsville tend to do more, go more, get more done, see more, experience more, and try more things than in some other communities where I have served as a school leader. I believe that the benefits of this outweigh the downsides 10,000 to 1.
Of course, imbalance and over-programming are alive and well, negative and hard for too many children and adults. But skill in choosing wisely among a multiplicity of interesting choices and discerning one’s capacity even while pushing its envelope, these are life skills we get to teach in our family and community. I am kindred with parents who insist upon ample rest and time for reflection. Our parenting role modeling of unplugged times, reading, hobbies, shared mealtimes, and other casual, communicative experiences pay big dividends for our impressionable young ones. We have learned that these also contribute to our own life balance.
Children of educated parents are more inclined than others to have broad interests and drive to achieve. But, educated or not, I have found curiosity and persistence to be characteristics common to successful people. These are also wonderfully contagious traits for the children in these families. Our busy, interesting, interested and on-the-go family ways of living are actually priceless contexts of enrichment for our kids.
My ZCS colleague Jenny Froehle says, “Curiosity and complacency are opposites!” I love that. How about we all conspire to raise up the most curious, active explorers we can?
If your family wakes up on Sunday morning with sore muscles from Saturday’s 30 mile bike ride, but your breakfast conversation turns to another afternoon of adventure, you could be teaching balance through movement.
We all taught our children “Please” and “Thank you,” and we helped them learn to be comfortable in almost any setting, right? These are life skills of the first order onto which full and wonderfully successful lives are being built right here in Zionsville. But sometimes we still worry about our busy kids.
I say stay on the move while helping our kids learn to be selective about activities that add torque to the busy spin of their lives. Successful people lean forward in life. Let’s help our children learn about this while accepting that they will stumble from time to time.
They have already seen us get back up more than once, so they know what to do!
Scott Robison, Superintendent
Zionsville Community Schools