When we adults look back at childhood, it seems so easy. Swinging, jumping rope, eating popsicles. What was so hard? When you glide over memories, they're golden and shiny.

Then I take a harder look. It wasn't all that easy. First we had to learn to share. Then we had to learn never to lie and when it was OK. We had to learn how to jump rope and push ourselves in swings.

That was about the time we went to school. Then a chunk of our day was taken up with more learning like Weekly Readers, spelling bees, speed- solving math problems and penmanship.

Also - because they were preparing us to be functioning adults - our parents decided school wasn't enough. We needed lessons. My mother's quest began with ballet. That didn't last long. About three lessons in, we discovered my feet and hands weren't properly wired to my brain.

I wanted piano lessons, but my mother wasn't in a position to pay for lessons that would require a major piece of furniture. So, I went back to my swings, popsicles and daydreaming. (I was awful at jumping rope.) That lasted about three weeks until she found elocution lessons.

These were good. Even today I seldom mumble and, unlike some elected officials, I can pronounce nuclear (not nucular) and jewelry (not joolery). I participated in recitals and, years later, ended up in radio since my lessons had starched the Southern accent right out.

Then we moved. Elocution lessons weren't available in rural Alabama. So, despite the lesson my mother learned during ballet, I found myself in ballroom dancing.

We were supposed to learn the fox trot, waltz, cha cha and tango. I kind of got stuck (that whole feet-brain thing) at the box step. The class lasted six weeks or 100 years, depending on your viewpoint. I can still do the box step, so all wasn't lost.

Yet, searching for lessons for our children has become much easier. The choices have grown by leaps and bounds. There are sports (for girls, too), art, martial arts, and music, singing and acting lessons. We truly can have renaissance children.

Now, instead of being faced with trying to find some kind of lesson that suits our children, we have to worry about over-scheduling them. It's sweet to have so many choices. But don't forget: block out a little time for swinging.


Home Front by EO Community Editor Terry Murry is published every other Sunday.


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