As parents we want to see our children happy, healthy and thriving in life. No one wants to make their kids unhappy, sad or disappointed. We all want our kids to fit in and have friends, we want them to feel secure and confident. We want them to have more, do more, be more than we had and did as children. There isn't anything we wouldn't do or give for our kids ... or is there?
This is something I've been thinking about for a long time, what we do for our kids which in turn shapes who they become as adults. I have to say, when I look around and see how kids are behaving (mine included) and how people are 'parenting' I get kind of worried. When I was a kid I had one set of parents but dozens of adults who cared enough about me to teach me, correct me and guide me along my way.
Now kids have multiple sets of parents with no one taking the responsibility or interest in teaching them how to grow into a proper adult. Instead of spending time talking to their kids about life, expectations and manners too many parents fill their child’s time with classes and activities.
Before you start lighting the torches and all that, I’m not saying that classes, teams and lessons are bad for kids. Many times kids need this extra stimulation to provide structure and physical activity to their week. What I am asking is if there is balance? Is there as much time spent teaching kids how to be compassionate, confident and generous people as there is driving them to practices, lessons and games?
I was talking with a mom about this topic yesterday and something she said really struck a chord with me. She said that no matter how many hockey clinics, games and practices her son goes to he probably won’t ever be an NHL superstar but she knows that if she spends as much time and effort teaching him morals and values that are important to her he will most definitely be an empathetic, responsible and generous adult.
What wouldn’t you do for your kids? Would you cancel a hockey practice because you are having a conversation about global poverty? Would you turn off the reality TV show and teach your kids about the reality of millions of children never having the opportunity to go to school? Would you put down the newspaper to hear about their news? Would you skip soccer registration for one season and use the money to take your kid shopping for a local homeless shelter? Would you shut off the sports channel during the big game to kick a ball around the yard with your kid? Would you put their need for guidance and instruction, meaningful adult interaction, ahead of your need for quiet, comfort and ‘alone time’?