Friday, May 30, 2008

Car-less and carefree!

Here's my challenge for you: commit to a car-free day at least once a month (more if you can) this summer.

We started having car free days about a year ago. We chose to buy a home 5 miles outside the city, in Albemarle County, so we wanted to intentionally set aside days where we stayed out of our car. We shifted life in Charlottesville (preschool, music lessons, etc) to the other side of town and we decided to limit our trips and track (and sometimes cap) our miles.

But it's probably been over a month since we enjoyed a 24 hour car-free period. And every time I do it, I think, why don't we do this more often? My four-year old and I had a glorious car-free day at home.

We decided to make our day an unbirthday celebration!

We baked cookies and invited a friend over. We made windsocks out of scrap paper and old ribbons from presents we have received over the years. We took the dog on a walk. We sang happy unbirthday to us. We listened to our favorite songs.

Betsy Taylor in her book What Kids Really Want That Money Can't Buy reports that over and over again what kids really want is YOU. Your time and your presence. Away from the cell phone, away from the work computer, away from the rushing from here to there. Americans working outside the home spent 142 hours (3 1/2 weeks) more per year on the job in 1994 than they did in 1973. Overworking and lack of down time as a family affects everyone.

Ms Taylor in her book says:

*examine your core priorities and all the work options within the family
*commit to time together
*create kid-centered routines (10 minutes of an evening chat or a daily walk)
*make vacations count
*play hooky a couple times a year
*PLAY - break out a board game, have your own dance party, cook a meal together

I highly recommend Betsy's book. She is the founder and president of the Center for a New American Dream. And enjoy your next car-free day!


No comments: