Prospective parents page
I consider freetime the most important 'class' on the timetable. I feel that I should write something on this as I want to make clear what I feel occurs in free time, and why I feel this to be so important.
Freetime is the time when our children decide for themselves what they want to do , and how they will do it. The first part of this, deciding for themselves what is important is only real when they can decide without having to choose from a predetermined list. Choosing to do cricket, or gym, or aikido or athletics or painting, an item from a group of electives (wherever they are predestined) is different to choosing for yourself without a list.
In this I am not saying that these scheduled activities are not worthwhile, or will not be fun, but that freetime is different. In freetime the child makes up their mind to do what they want, without prompt or restriction. In this, doing 'nothing' is as good as anything else, if it is the child's choice.
The freedom of freetime is therefore the freedom for the child to feel what they like, what they want, what moves them and involves them and excites them. We adults smirk about 'getting in touch with ourselves' but without this, at all ages, we are just flying blind. If we do not enjoy what we are doing, then why are we doing it? Money? Prestige? Or perhaps just because we have never thought of anything else… to me, all these reasons seem pretty hopeless.
Freetime thus leaves the mental space necessary for a child to discover, or re-discover what they like and dislike.
Excellence in math, English, dance, Chinese or whatever mean nothing if we lose track of why we are pursuing these, a degree loses all real value if we forget why we are doing it. A high paying job means nothing if we do not enjoy it. Unless we are in touch with what moves us, our day-to-day is simply a progression of other-determined tasks.I define this as meaningless. This is a life where all is set and controlled by another, and is a form of death when you forget what you like and want. When your goals become those of the other, without you realising.