When was the last time your child woke up for school by himself without an alarm clock? Can you remember a school morning when all was peaceful, calm, and relaxed ? When was the last time your children felt energized by school, were happy to go to school, and got there early on purpose? For my kids that was today and has been every day since we moved to New Zealand.
Our American Schedule — The Clock Fixation
Elementary School Guy
Afterschool rituals were not much better for any of them. Running to all activities at various times with a constant buzz of stress, crabbiness, and always with a sense of urgency was the standard routine. The vortex that surrounded us, spiralled around us, constantly and relentlessly, became imperceptible. Without realising, these young creatures were being taught that stress is the norm, busy is the norm, and racing against the clock is the norm. However, in the midst of this cyclone, in this race against time, what did we hope they win? A high level of stress to carry into adulthood. Anxiety and depression to outline their late adolescence? Medicines to treat their chronic illness that will surely develop in adulthood? None of this occured to me or seemed absurd until we landed in New Zealand. Breaking away from our US life, helped me bring into focus the portrayal of adulthood I was ingraining into the kids. Once on New Zealand soil, a new image clarified, the beauty of the oragnic childhood.
The Organic Childhood Experience in Wellington, NZ, illustrated.
6 weeks into this adventure, the kids now go to sleep with the sunset and wake up with the sunrise. Everyone has time in the morning for Protein Fruit Smoothie with eggs and toast. The clock has become a blurry image in the background. I drag nobody out of bed. They leave for school with enthusiasm and excitement every single day. (OK in full disclosure, one of them still can’t put his shoes on in time, and the other one cannot manage to brush his teeth) All three kids come home happy, relaxed, and glowing. There is barely any homework, so the library across the way is 5 stories high and provides them with the latest books. Skateboarding or scootering in the nearby skate park is the norm. They grocery shop or attend various classes at the nearby local gym. Our weekends are filled with hikes (tramps), biking, exploring parks to find obstacle courses, zip lines, see-saw’s, and sky high webbed structures.
A calm has settled over the entire family. It’s almost as if our US habits and expectations caged us in a somewhat toxic living atmosphere. By venturing out into the world, the toxins are being eliminated, the spirits cleansed, and childhood is becoming purified. How did I loose sight of the essence of childhood? I read food labels obsessively — how did I overlook the Organic Childhood Label?
In good health, Ana-Maria Temple, MD
Originally published at mc2charlotte.com on November 24, 2016.