Saturday, November 2, 2019

Do You Care?

My daughter is a little drama queen. She loves music and singing and acting in plays. She also loves swimming. She lacks any sort of talent when it comes to sports, but can ride a scooter like it was her God given gift. My son loves drawing, golf, swimming and going for walks. Everything he enjoys is a very solitude act.

My husband and I have always enabled our kids to choose their activities.  We never forced them to participate in tee ball, little league or even any team sports. I never encouraged my daughter to try gymnastics, dance or baton like I had when I was young.  But I also never encouraged it.  We never signed them up for anything and then made the go against their will. However, there was a week long summer dance clinic that made me feel like that week was actually going to kill me in the end. My kids swim in the backyard in the summer when they want.  The go for walks and scooter rides. They tell us when they want to go to the golf course, the driving range or Top Golf. We are a content family without surrounding ourselves with the busyness of organized team sports.

We are also content with the idea of our kids not being involved in a ton of other activities. We make it a priority for our kids to attend church youth group on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. We also make sure that if our daughter wants to be in a play or volunteer through school or church, that she is able to do so.  We encourage our kids to have fun through doing the things that they like to do and we don't force them to do the things they may not enjoy just because other kids participate in those activities.  I never want to be a parent that passes on a Keeping Up With the Jones mentality to the next generation.  And that attitude can be formed when it comes to the acquisition of things or the participation in events or activities.

I have been asked if Josh and I have any plans for Lily to become involved in any additional activities.  Um.  No.  What?  Why? My daughter is in 7th grade, has asthma, lacks any coordination whatsoever to excel in any sport, but loves to act in two plays each school year, sing in choir, volunteer after school each fall and at church every other Sunday.  I have full confidence that she enjoys every activity she participates in and doesn't begrudge Josh or I for forced participation. Parents are already talking about college and scholarships and resumes.  My mind can't even wrap itself around the fact that we have two teenagers.  I can't even yet imagine the idea of Lily going to college.

Parents are a funny thing.  Of course we all want whats best for our kids.  But sometimes, parents fall into the comparison game. They even take more pride in the personal accomplishments of their children than they do in anything they have done.  And that pride can morph into a raging machine when they want to make sure that every other parent knows how well their kids are doing in comparison to other children. 

Nope. I just don't have time for it.  A humble brag, yes.  My kid is having fun in a play at school. The performance is this weekend. So proud of her.  Not- My daughter is the most amazing actress ever. - And then try to recruit the entire family and friend sphere to attend a performance of a junior high play.  Or- My kid loves to draw and he has really improved over the last two years.- Then post updated drawings.  Not- print out a million copies and and distribute them to everyone including the lady stocking fruit at the grocery store. 

My goal each day is to love my kids, encourage my kids and point them to Jesus.  My goal isn't to fill their day and frankly my day with more activities and more stress that make them feel like they just want to make it through each day rather than enjoy and savor every moment. 

Do I care that my daughter won't have the most padded resume or activity involvement when it comes to college applications? No. I do not.  But I do care that she has a kind heart. I do care that she enjoys helping others. And I care that she has time to play with friends, time to read, time to play games with her family and time to be a kid.  Because in a few short years, this world is going to ask an awful lot of her. This school will ask her to be an adult in a world where adults aren't very nice to each other.  This world will ask her to compete for positions in school and for jobs.  This world will ask her to focus on everything that doesn't matter rather than focus on the condition of her heart and mind.

So, for now,  I will not push.  I will not sign her up. I will not pester. I will not beg. I will not make her do anything she isn't interested in or be involved in anything she doesn't enjoy.  Because today, we are focusing on her being a kid. On having fun.  On smiling and laughing.  On enjoying this day that we have been gifted.

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