Feb 10, 2014 0 Share

Waiting for the Weekend


Young man with notes above his head with days of the week.
Thinkstock

Ah, weekends … A rest from a week of hard labor. A time to unwind, relax, and recharge. Who doesn’t love a weekend? Well, someone suffering from being homesick and without enough to do, perhaps?

I understand weekends can be tough for any college freshman still finding his way on campus, but especially so for those who aren’t exactly social butterflies. In my former role as an Independent Living Skills Instructor, I remember quizzing students on how they had spent their weekend. While the program I was employed by provided a structured social outing each weekend, the outings were voluntarily attended, and not always in line with everyone’s interest. This led to some students isolating themselves until the routine of Monday morning rolled around. One the biggest thrills I experienced while working there was finding out a young man had taken my advice and invited a group of fellow students to go to a museum with him. I was always pleasantly surprised when students took the initiative to make something out of their weekend. Sometimes they just needed a seed of an idea for something to do, and they were off and running. Others needed more structured positive reinforcement to encourage social behavior. Regardless of the nature of the student, everyone seemed to benefit from branching out on their own and finding something meaningful to do during the weekend.

Weekend isolation is one thing that I don’t worry about when it comes to Cameron. As I’ve mentioned before, my husband, Cameron’s stepfather, has had tremendous influence over Cameron in ways I never could have. A few years back, my husband started prodding Cameron to “go do something” on the weekends. My husband was frustrated by Cameron spending hours on end in his bedroom, only coming out for meals. Of course, being a protective mom, I felt the prods were a little unfair. How could Cameron be expected to come up with his own ideas to fill his day? Shouldn’t we be planning his day for him? Doesn’t he need more “concrete” instructions in order to have any chance of following a plan? My concerns were unnecessary. Slowly but surely, Cameron began to fill his weekends. Whether with an exploratory trip to the National Cathedral on his bike, or a lunch at his favorite restaurant, Cameron began to fill his weekends. Now, instead of “go do something,” we instead ask, “What have you planned?” Cameron no longer needs prompting to fill his time. He fulfilled his school community service hours by volunteering at pet adoption events. He tracks release dates of movies, and plans to see them accordingly. It has been Cameron’s habit for some time now to figure out what he will do over the weekend long before the weekend arrives. He’s even now taken to planning afternoon activities when he has a half-day at school.

While I’m glad to have Cameron fill his time outside the house on the weekends, I now realize what an important skill this is that my husband prodded him to develop. Hopefully, Cameron will be going away this fall and beginning a postsecondary program. I am confident that he is up for the task, and will welcome the adventure of exploring a new town. After all, going out and about is far better than sitting in his room missing me. Because he will miss me … Right?