Periodically, my children’s backpacks explode onto the kitchen counter, overflowing with weeks worth of graded homework, unit tests, and all the other paperwork that fills their school lives. It sits on the counter for a few days before I can find a quiet morning to sift through it and find the gems worth saving, the stuff their future spouses or children might want to pore through on a Sunday afternoon. Third grade homework piles mostly end up in the trash, the days of cute kindergarten drawings long replaced by tedious spelling worksheets. I almost missed Jack’s poetic cry for help, sandwiched between word problem pages.
Here is the poem, complete with a spelling mistake.
KIDS ARE TOO BUSY – a spontaneous poem by Jack Druckman
On Monday I do baseball and homework.
On Tuesday I do tae kwon do. and also homework.
On Wednesday I have my tudor and then I do more homework.
On Thursday more Tae Kwon Do. Piano. And homework again.
On Friday, soccer and baseball.
Then Saturday is baseball again. Sometimes I even have homework.
When do I get to be free and to do nothing? Kids are too busy.
I got on the phone immediately, of course, and took off some of the overload. Parenting is a constant juggling act, giving them enough exposure to activities without giving them too much. There needs to be time to be bored, to play, to invent, to be free. There needs to be time for joy. I am grateful for his reminder, almost lost in the sea of work in his backpack. And I am grateful for the freedom of summer, the long days that stretch into night, fireflies dancing while kids play until they drift home, dirty and happy and free at last.