Children are the most important thing. They are our futures.
And every family should be able to take Time Out to enjoy bringing up their kids.
The current push to make the school day longer will not suit many kids. The school day is long enough and many kids just need to get home to relax after school.
We need to stop thinking that people who "stay at home" with kids (a misnomer if ever there was one !) are somehow a different species !
Many mothers, and a few fathers, take a few years out when their children are babies and toddlers. This is what many want to do and its great for the kids. Relaxing in the playpark while playing with friends, running across the grass after toddler group, visiting friends, going shopping, going swimming, picking strawberries at a fruit farm, playing football, going to playgroup. Now most of these things I have listed are free things to do, or at least very inexpensive, as parents work together to run toddler groups and playgroups. Its a community effort ! Now surely that is worth valuing.
So lets all realise that Time Out With Kids can be a good thing. It has been shown to be good for the children's mental health with respect to bonding with their parents, attachment theory etc. and apart from anything else it is good fun. It is what life is about.
I like this piece which was a reading at a funeral I was at recently, of a friend's father who was very much a "family man", it makes me think of how there is a "time to work, a time to spend with your young children, a time to support your older children, a time for your parents, etc." :
There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven:
A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted.
A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building.
A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing.
A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing.
A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for discarding.
A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking.
A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peaceWhat do people gain from the efforts they make?
I contemplate the task that God gives humanity to labour at.
All that he does is apt for its time; but although he has given us an awareness of the passage of time, we can grasp neither the beginning nor the end of what God does.
I know there is no happiness for a human being except in pleasure and enjoyment through life.
And when we eat and drink and find happiness in all our achievements, this is a gift from God