Do we really have to?

The other night Ben came out at around 10:30pm to tell me he was ready to go to sleep, which is part of his usual nightly routine.   After he tells me, we go to his room, I situate the curtains just so, then turn off his light and give him a snuggle.    On this particular night, I was watching something on line which I had paused in order to go say good-night to him, so after a minute of snuggling I said, “I have to go now.”   He didn’t miss a bit but answered with a smile, “You don’t have to go.  You want to go!”   Which made me laugh because it was the truth.

How often do we disguise our choices and preferences behind the convenience of “have to”?     And we are often very serious about it, as though it has nothing to do with our own free will and priorities;   we may even have ourselves convinced that there really is no choice in the matter.

I’ve come to enjoy our Thursdays because it is the day least prone to “have to’s”.    Sometimes there is a little bit of moaning from certain quarters about the lack of a plan for Thursday, but what I’m finding is that because there is nothing we ‘have to’ do (which really means no commitments to which we have voluntarily agreed), we wind up having the best days, open to anything, creative, quiet and fun.

These Thursdays are perfect examples of why I try to keep our daily commitments to a minimum.   I find that a life where nothing spontaneous can happen because of all of the “have to’s” deprives me of my sanity and my kids of opportunities to imagine, invent and play.

About Amy

Amy Milstein was born and raised on a farm in Indiana, but after 20+ years considers herself a full-fledged New Yorker. She is married with two kids, who do not go to school but are instead life learners. This means they learn by living in the world (real life ) instead of hearing about it and simulating it in a classroom. With her family, Amy loves to travel, read, watch movies, write, sew, knit - the list is endless.
This entry was posted in Creativity, Learning, Life Learning, Unschooling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Do we really have to?

  1. Miriam AKA Grandma says:

    “Apples don’t fall far from the tree”. As I have gotten older, I have become more jealous of my time. You see, a specified amount is given everyone. But none of us knows what that amount is. I really dislike filling up my precious free time with “have to’s”. I have friends who, if I call on a Friday evening and say “hey tomorrow is going to be nice, how about let’s going to……….. and hike around?”, will answer with “let me get my planner”. And it ends up they have no openings for SIX WEEKS!! And we are all retirement age folks. How awful!! Then I have to put it on my calendar and it becomes a “have to” instead of a fun outing.