Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Family Values

One of the blogs that i've been following recently is Julie Leung's Seedlings & Sprouts blog. She recently posted a link to this article about the over-structured lives of American families. I've been trying to determine how much my own family is reflected in this. On one hand, my kids do have more scheduled activities than i ever had at their age: various sports, piano and cello lessons, martial arts classes. Also because Emily and i alternate nights working out, we often don't spend full evenings all together. On the positive side, neither Emily nor i work ridiculous hours and our house is arranged to minimize the roaming around that is described in the article (the computer is in the same room as the TV, the kitchen, dining area, and family room are basically the same space). I'm also an advocate of just being around as much as possible when we are in the house together, as opposed to the egregious concept of "quality time".

I'm curious to know the why of how families have evolved in this way. It's clear that somewhere along the line parents became collectively insane, convinced beyond reason that their children must have every opportunity to become Ivy League attending musical prodigies and/or sports stars, or else they will inevitably end up living in a cardboard box under a freeway overpass. It's like some parents started messing up the curve, and so all of the other parents freaked.

But other than a few well-documented cases of mass hysteria, society tends to do what it's persuaded to do. So who exactly is selling us the idea that this is the way to live?

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