Yesterday, David and I laced up our walking shoes and strolled a couple miles down the road to The Hare where we enjoyed a beautiful Sunday lunch. After our meal, we sat in the garden for a drink and dessert (rhubarb crumble with custard, yummmm) and all around us were families with children. Many of these children took it upon themselves to find entertainment amongst each other, and they played in the field beside the garden- games of tag and cricket and whatever else English children do- and sometimes an adult would saunter over, beer in hand, and kick a ball around, too. But usually the adults sat together in the garden, enjoying conversation and a drink in the sun with a few children leaning their heads on their arms, quietly listening in.
The attitude toward child-rearing is far more relaxed here than in the States and parents seem to have a more harmonious balance between their own social priorities and the activities of their children. Once a couple has children, their children do not seem to replace their social life, and I think it’s great to see families together at pubs, groups of parents engaged in conversation as their children run off on their own. At first I found the presence of so many youngsters to be tiresome and irritating, but the more I see it, the more I realize their inclusion in the ‘adult world’ is actually healthy and quite liberating. Instead of sequestering their children at home with a sitter, they allow them to experience and observe the real world, and allow them to behave like children at the same time. It’s just one of those English things- like Sunday lunch and beer gardens- that I find sweet and charming.
How was your weekend, dear reader? Did you do anything exciting/inspiring/relaxing?