I have to consistently remember that my kids have to be allowed to be their own selves. I know this as they will eventually attend the same school I teach at. I know this as I pursue my own writing. I know this as someone who spent most of her adolescence struggling with finding my own identity separate from my dad’s position. Our children don’t get to choose the childhood we’ve given them. Let’s at least give them the freedom to find their way through that childhood.
But even in those moments I have to remember to check my response to their behavior. In those moments we have to ask each other for forgiveness, them for their behavior and me for the level of my reaction to that behavior. I want them to learn that anger can be good and justified, but how we express that anger needs to be appropriate to the situation and not be the cause of hurt to those we love. I want them to learn the importance of looking at the whole picture (something I’m constantly learning as well) and considering how their actions and reactions affect those around them. I want them to learn the value of offering grace even when that grace does not appear to be deserved.
What if we parents agreed that enough was enough? What if we stopped buying the grocery store cupcakes with rings or toys on top? What if we were more intentional with our stocking stuffers and got our kids things they could just eat or use for longer than a couple days? What if we decided that we wanted our kids to have fewer, higher quality items as opposed to junky stuff that breaks immediately? What if we determined to teach our kids the value of experiences over things that are easily tossed in the trash?
And how has this affected my daughter? I was boy-crazy girl who wanted a boyfriend from a ridiculously young age. I wanted to feel beautiful and loved and the fact that I didn’t have a real boyfriend until right after graduating from high school was a point of devastating disappointment for me. My 10-year-old talks about wanting to someday get married, has good friends who are boys, and we’ve started to see glimmers of crushes bubbling under the surface, but it isn’t her main goal. She wants to travel, she wants to be a vet, and then she wants to someday get married and have a lot of kids.
For our daughter, starting fifth grade came with a lot of new and exciting opportunities. She got to pick her […]
When my daughter decided she was done with dance, it was the end of my own unfulfilled childhood dreams. But when she said she was done with piano, it felt like so much more than that. It felt like a rejection of one of the things that had been such a big part of my own childhood. But I know that’s not fair. After all, she’s never seen her mom lose herself in a piece of music, fingers flying up and down the ivories. Instead she’s watched her mom spend hours lost in her own writing, her fingers making words instead of music. So much so that she has taken to doing her own writing, creating stories and drawing pictures to match, convinced that someday she will create something worthy of other’s praise. Her stage is the page, not the baby grand.