Raspberry Guilt, Part 2
August 10, 2023
August 10, 2023
On Monday, we emailed you KidsOutAndAbout.com's annual special-edition Fall Programs newsletter to connect you with 2023-2024 after-school and weekend classes in sports & exercise, the arts, STEM, and lots more. Of course, I received feedback. You people have opinions! Fortunately, there were only two complaints, which is not bad considering we have 800,000 subscribers in the US and Canada. Both of these objections have merit.
"It's Raspberry Guilt all over again," said one reader, referring to my column from July 13. "I feel bad thinking about all the activities my kids don't do, but which they could do if I'd just get them there." Another said she worries about us sending a message that "you're not a good parent if you don't sign up your kids for after-school classes. But sometimes you've got to let kids just be."
I could not agree more with these comments; it's something I've struggled with myself. The world is filled with amazing things to learn, but how do we introduce our kids to these experiences without burning out our calendar, our wallet, and our desire to try new things? For the most part, I LOVE having a front-row seat to the local experiences being offered to families, but each August I get weighed down a bit by Raspberry Guilt as I see and celebrate the crop of juicy new activities, so few of which my kids ever get to try. On the flip side, leaving kids with unscheduled time can help them develop independence and creativity. But what if they make bad decisions about how to spend it?
I have no magic formula to offer beyond my "some but any" principle: You're the tour guide to your kids' world, and while it's impossible to point at everything, your job is to offer SOME things for your family each season. Our job at KidsOutAndAbout.com is to provide a buffet from which you and your kids can pick and taste according to your family's bandwidth and budget. And of course, it's not always mealtime. We all—kids and adults—need time to dream, read, think, and, as our wise reader pointed out above, just plain be. So please be sure to schedule some time for that, too.