I fight boxes that seek to define. I try to stay outside "the mold." I actively work to not keep up with any Joneses. And I seek to encourage my children to be who they are, not who I think they should be.
A lot of this stems from the way I was raised growing up homeschooled with Sonlight. My mom will have to be the one to explain how she did it.
Through the years I did band and karate, AWANA and swimming. I practiced and memorized. Some things I was good at, others not so much. "You swim because you love it," was my mom's refrain, not because I was successful and could win. I never was told, encouraged, or pushed to "be better," "try harder."
So, this is what I fight in my generation of parenting: the urge to put my kids in everything so that they will have the best chance of success. The urge to panic when they appear behind in one aspect of life or school. The urge to compare.
My children are who they are. They are created in God's image; they are their own people. They have different skills than I do, and each other. As they grow they will succeed with ease at some things and likely never master other skills in life. And that is more than okay.
That does not make them behind. It doesn't make me a bad teacher. It doesn't make them failures at life or mean I've held them back from the greatness they could become. Being who they are is more than good enough.
I sit at the pool and listen to a mom worry about her 11 month old not walking and her fear that he is failing. To this mom I want to say, "Look at your son! He is fine. He is just taking his time. He is moving and growing and being loved and held. He will walk when he's ready."
I compliment a mom about how cute her 2 year old daughter's voice is when she says big words and hear a smug, "Yes, she's very advanced." To this mom I want to say, "This was not a comparison! This is not a critique of every other 2 year old! Your daughter is cute; enjoy that, but that doesn't mean every other 2 year old saying 'jjs' or 'tomputer' is somehow less."
I want to combat our society that pits our children against one another -- that has standards and tests and rankings for every stage, and event, and thing our children do. Teach them as we go, yes. Have them "win" at walking, and talking, and color recognition, and ballet, and math, and reading level ... no.
My children are more than good enough. The education I'm giving them is more than good enough. Their childhood -- the love they are getting, the experience (albeit lots of playing) -- is more than good enough.
They will be great in their own right because they are who they are, not because I've forced them.
Until next time,
P.S. Speaking of children, we've added our 4th! Our first son, Jackson. He came by scheduled c-section and was our first with no complications. As his name means, God certainly has been gracious. Thank you all for your prayers. We are loving this season.