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Humor: One woman's plea for more organized playtime

Forget the experts who say kids need unstructured recreation. I once had it. Now I can't dance, play the violin, skate, do karate, or speak in public.

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OH, JOY. Another story lamenting the lack of unstructured playtime, this one appearing recently in The New York Times Magazine. You know the kind I mean. They quote experts who wistfully recall the days when children watched cloud formations and wiggled their toes in the sand. They warn us that today's children are losing out, aren't imaginative enough, and are overly dependent on organized activities.

Well, call me misguided, but I'm living proof that the benefits of unstructured playtime are overblown. Having spent a childhood chasing bugs with nothing to show for it, I've decided to campaign for more structure, not less.

I admit it was fun, the mud pies, the backyard plays, the tree climbing. Sure, those lazy summer days provided me with a few good memories. But that's about it. I can't dance, play the violin, skate, do karate, or speak in public. On the other hand, overly structured children (OSCs) excel at a variety of activities. They play Bach sonatas, swim laps, play tennis, ski, lift weights, and draw like Leonardo da Vinci. Chinese? No problem.

My proposed program, "No Child Left Unstructured," would guarantee that all children, no matter how underprivileged, would reap the benefits of the overly structured lifestyle. Schools that fail to provide structure before school, during school, and after school would be put on probation.


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