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2020 Jan

Seize the Day

Plan a year’s worth of inspiring fun with your family.

Happy New Year! Isn’t it exciting to have twelve fresh months stretching in front of us like an empty canvas? January is a time of new beginnings, a month for looking forward and planning new ways to get the most out of life—for us and our kids.

Because life is for living. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. We only have so much time, and we never know exactly how much. That’s why I have long been a proponent of the seize-the-day mentality —both for me and my family. When my kids were little, we regularly took them to museums, parks, zoos, concerts, plays, festivals, and historical sites. Peter and I believed in exposing them to as much culture as possible because that’s how you experience life.

Sure, kids go to school and learn about history and math, but when you take your kids on enriching excursions, they get in touch with feelings and emotions that you can’t always experience in the classroom. 

Once we took our kids to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, a living museum where you meet historic interpreters and learn about 18th-century life. In the recreated encampment, Ross and Jasper examined surgeon’s tools and learned how they were used to deal with battle wounds. I won’t elaborate any further, but suffice to say, our sons learned and felt lessons that day about the horrors of war.

One of my favorite memories is when we took our sons to hear “Peter and the Wolf,” a kid-friendly musical composition by Sergei Prokofiev that opened their ears to the sweet sounds of symphony music and the ways simple instruments can morph into animals and people.

I can still hear the music that signaled the wolf was present—three French horns—and the string instruments that represented Peter. Dip your toe into classical music with “Peter and the Wolf.” It’s easy to find on YouTube and a great way to spend a rainy (or snowy) afternoon this winter. Or check out local family-friendly concerts, like VSO’s PB&J series.

Another antidote for cabin fever is sewing. Grab your sewing machine and teach your older kids how to make something. Maybe it’s doll clothes or homemade costumes for a family play. Together you can act out “Little Red Robin Hood” or “The Three Bears,” It just takes a little imagination, and it’ll be tons of fun.

If you put your mind to it, you can plan an excursion or craft activity every week—that’s 52 for the whole year. Take lots of photos, post them on social media, and inspire others to enjoy creative moments with their kids.

Sure, it’s easier to turn on the TV or video game console. But when December 2020 rolls around and you look back on all your accomplishments this year, wouldn’t you rather know that you lived every one of the 365 days you were given instead of letting them go by in a blur?

It’s up to you. Your kids rely on you to inspire them to learn and grow. Make a resolution right now to ensure your family experiences a creative 2020, a year filled with music, art, history, and culture.

You can start by turning to our packed January 2020 calendar of events. Try to plan at least one excursion a week. And if your kids grumble a bit, promise them a stop at the ice cream store on the way home. A small bribe is worth it to get your kids off the couch and out into our world of wonder. Start today!

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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