I have a couple of pet phrases that my boys tease me about. One of them is “Do something productive” and the other is “Find something constructive to do.” I use them interchangeably, often when I am heading out the door, leaving one or more boys at home.
It’s not that I’m a slave driver, never wanting them to have an idle moment to themselves. It’s just that I seem to have an increasing awareness of how much time we waste. And I’m not pointing fingers at my kids as the only ones who are affected. I can be a world class time waster without any trouble at all.
And I don’t have anything particular in mind when I declare that they should do something of value, but I do have some idea what qualifies and what doesn’t. For instance, watching a program on TV can be productive while surfing the channels for twenty minutes is not. Of course, not all TV programs are created equal, and that’s a topic for another day.
Since our homeschool is what I would call relaxed, it’s harder to measure what is productive and I’m the first to admit that some days my list of accomplishments is rather sad. And while I can’t account for every minute, and would probably go crazy if I tried, I do think it’s important to be intentional about how I spend my days. I only have a limited number of them and it seems that they are going by faster all the time.
I try to get my boys to think about how they’ve spent their time each day. They would like to spend it gaming on the computer or sleeping or texting. I would like them to spend it reading and learning new skills and helping others. It’s a challenge to steer them in a direction away from themselves and in a manner that will give them a shot at a successful life in the future. You know, building character and all.