Outsourcing Today

I awoke this morning thinking about outsourcing. OK, so it wasn’t a very restful night! My mind pinged off the walls a lot.

I wasn’t think about the outsourcing of goods to China  in terms of clothing like most of us wear today. Look at the labels from Target or Kohl’s; one is hard pressed to find many Made on the USA tags.

No, I thought about the outsourcing of our children! Consider how much time children are home now or even out with their parents.

Admittedly, my rural New York roots kept me close to home, and few outside activities took us away from the family.

On Sunday afternoons, after church and Mom’s Sunday dinner at home, we piled into the old car and visited our grandparents together.  We learned to have conversations.

Truth be told, we sometimes snuck off to the back parlor to call random numbers and ask, “Is your refrigerator running? You better go catch it.”

Wow! Did my brother and I get into trouble when Dad came out for a glass of water and discovered our prank!

My generation also knew duck and cover practices at school when we had to scramble under desks and cover our heads in case of nuclear explosions.

Today the drill looks more like drop and run. One child goes to a field for sports’ practice, another to the stable to ride, another to ballet, and the fourth child to gymnastics. Hopefully, parents have carefully checked out the people who lead these activities — because the parents usually cannot stay to watch. Many parent even don’t see many church and school activities.

My younger brother played Little League baseball with one practice a week and one game on Saturday afternoon that we all attended. Five-year-olds now practice t-ball with the intensity of the Olympics!

On Saturday morning my mother drove me  to my piano lesson. She sat on the teacher’s couch for the hour –sometimes making secret notations about my actual practice time  the previous week.  Next we stopped at the library for books and then did the grocery shopping at the A&P.

Home for sandwiches once  Dad and Ken came in  from having worked in the garden. Later came baseball, newspapers, books, chores, and bedtime.

School and church framed our social life, but we spent lots of time as a family, being raised by our folks. Did Mom work outside the home? Yes, she went to work when I entered college and my brother went into eighth grade. She left after the bus picked Ken up and arrived home before he did. Did I mention that she worked in the cafeteria of the same school Ken attended?

Now, friends, as  my son’s recent birthday card said to me, I admit that,  “You’re somewhere between younger than springtime and older than dirt.”  So maybe I’m off the mark here.

I used to have a prayer on the side of the fridge: “Let Me Raise My Children.” It acknowledged that Sunday School teachers, Scout masters and others would be part of my child’s life, but it asked the Lord to remind me that the primary task of raising these two fabulous boys –now men — belonged to Dave and me!

It’s already August and the sign-up frenzy for fall activities nips at parents’ heels. Maybe it’s a good time to pray about how much outsourcing you want to do with your children.


3 thoughts on “Outsourcing Today

  1. Flo, I like this. Calvin will soon be five and I love spending time with him. I love being a Mom and I can’t imagine having to be back out in the work force with him at home. Mark and I have discussed what, if any, activities we would be willing to let Calvin participate in at this time. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I will never get over the feeling of saddness as year after year several parents say to me,”You spend more time with him then I do…you know him so much better,” this as they rush out the door..far to busy to spend the time to listen to me tell them how their childs day was

    • Only a few replied to this one, but I think we’ll regret the outsourcing we did of our kids when they grow up. You can’t get those early years back. However, they make your day many times, I’m sure!

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