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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Silver Lining to the High Gas Price Cloud

When the price of gasoline went up, we had to make some tough decisions, especially since my better half is between contracts and we are watching our pennies very carefully. So I sat down with the kids and told them we were going to have to be even more careful about our trips to town. There would be more piggybacking (we already are pretty good at this since we live 30 minutes from town) and there would have to be thoughtful decisions about the gas we used.

First to go was soccer for this fall. The practice field was 30 minutes away, practices were twice a week and the games on Saturday were up to an hour away. That was a hard decision, but also a no brainer. Second to go was gymnastics for awhile. That was only once a week, but has a monthly expense.

Now when we made these decisions, I expected much wailing and gnashing of teeth. My son was unhappy about it, but is very grown up for his age and understood the situation. My daughter's response amazed me. "Great, that means we will have more time to play at home!"

And that is what we have done. The time we are spending at home has been filled with games, jigsaw puzzles, walks, stories, and fun. And they haven't complained at all about the missed activities. This has been an eye opener for me. I often read stories and studies that talk about how important family is to our children's development, how important sitting down to dinner together is, how we are stressing our children out with too much activity.

Our own little experiment has confirmed these studies and it is a lesson we plan not to forget.

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