Spontaneity Versus Structure: What’s Most Important For Kids?

by Kimberly K. Parker Parents are the most goal-minded individuals I have ever encountered. But, of course! We must ensure schedules and plans are in place to help us effectively govern our day-to-day activities. I dare not exhaust the “things-to-do list” filled with household management items, J-O-B deadlines, and children activities. It seems to never cease! Typically, moms and dads wake up with a clear picture of how the day will end…before it begins!

Spontaneity, which is not my “friend”, backed me into a corner one evening as I extended the invitation to play Scrabble® with my son…on a school night! Merely seconds away from hyperventilating after coming to my senses (a school night?), I grabbed the game with haste, removed it from the box, and positioned myself comfortably on my living room floor. My son was thrilled, to say the least. Guardedly he stated, “Momma, but it’s a school night. This is cool!”

Our game commenced and for the next fifteen minutes the flow was quite nice. Suddenly, in the midst thereof, I felt an overwhelming urge to read the rules. I just had to be certain that we were honoring the intentions of its creator precisely. While my objective was to win, attaining victory properly was my true purpose! My son, who was waiting patiently to resume playing, turned to me and said, “Momma, can we please just have fun?”

It does not take much for me to pump my breaks! Such a simple request from one who was in this Scrabble® competition for the sheer love of playing with his Momma! Then, it dawned on me: I was operating with a perfectionist mentality and was missing out on the joys of spending time with him in this manner. I was focused on the product (playing and winning the game as designed) and not the process (the loads of fun I could have with my son).

Once I dropped the paper and pushed it to the side, I was able to relax and have a ball! Now, some of the words we created surely did not exist, but who cared? Sore stomachs, tussling over a letter or two, and praying for a chance to use the letter “Q” filled the remainder of our evening. LOL! What a great, spontaneous, non-hyperventilating moment from that point forward! And, I totally became “one cool Momma!”

B Intentional Family, As parents, do you think we sometimes get caught up in schedules & routines too much? What’s most useful—teaching our children the importance of spontaneity and  going with the flow or teaching the value of structure and order? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share your comments with me.

Kimberly K. Parker is the owner of Writing Momma Publishing. She is hosting “Isn’t She Lovely!”, an elegant father and daughter event in March 2011 in hopes of promoting the importance of the relationship between little girls and their fathers. Visit www.isntshelovely.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets and for more information. Kimberly is an author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

2 replies
  1. Terrence
    Terrence says:

    I think just like in anything, too much of anything can be harmful. I think a healthy balance is good. My daughter does well with routines so far, but daddy/daughter day is Friday morning, so that's always spontaneous. As a parent I just do the best that I can do and keep on moving. I do need to give a shout out to my wife as well. She is an awesome parent, and a good model for me. I don't know what I would do without her!

  2. Serena
    Serena says:

    Growing up I had basically no structure. And, I'm paying for it now. Looking back I needed that so much but at the same time I think having too much routine can kill creativity.

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