Wednesday, June 5, 2013

All in Due Time


It is the end of the school year around these parts and everyone with school aged children is feeling it.  There has been much chatter about the realities of this annual season on Facebook, in blogs, around the school yard, around parenting committee tables, spewed over texts, and lamented over in phone conversations.  A few courageous voices have shared their hearts about what it feels like to be a parent of school aged children at this point in the game.  I have laughed and I have commiserated with their points.  It is good to get these experiences out there...we all need to know that we are not alone.  And it stirs in me a desire to cling to the truth that how I feel and what my experience might be during these harried weeks, is secondary to what my children’s experiences are right now.

My children’s educational journey is not about me.  There are some loud messages out there trying to tempt me into hijacking my kids academic successes and failures and to twist them into some sort of parental report card.  To this sentiment, I say, “Bah!”

My child’s fourth grade mission report is not a reflection of my success as a parent.  How I guide him through the process of research, organization, insight, and execution measures the effectiveness with which I parent my child, but the end product does not represent anything about me.  The end product is about his journey...and I am determined to keep this truth central in my day to day parenting.

I love to see my children excel...and they do most of the time, but then sometimes they don’t and I need to make that reality okay for them too.  I need to be present when my son doesn’t remember that thing he needs for a presentation.  I need to be present when my daughter struggles with the early elementary social aggression that doesn’t go her way.  I need to have firmness and grace when my younger son has trouble harnessing his wiggles in the classroom.  I need to check the backpacks, provide the lunches and snacks, taxi to the necessary places, and I need to do these things even if I don’t feel like it anymore.  

A big part of parenting for me is trying to model a balance between need vs. want and feelings vs. reality.  Yes, I am right in the middle of the turbulent waters along with every parent out there that has been honest with feeling done with the school year.  And...how I feel about this right now cannot be my focus.  If I am feeling done...then how much more are my children feeling done?  Right now my focus needs to be about modeling to them that even when we feel done, there is still more to be done and slacking at the end because of feelings only brings more complication into life.  Yes, I want the school year to be done, yes I feel overwhelmed...and so do all of my children.  It is what we do with these emotions that makes the difference for our children as they journey into adulthood.

I need to remember that I’m working myself out of a job.  I am teaching them life skills.  I need to remember they are watching, and needing, and feeling all the time.  They need me to contain the experiences they have as they travel along childhood and they need a mom that is not so wrapped in my own experience that I miss theirs.  This is a tall order.  This reality I want to be honest about, because frankly it is a minute by minute struggle.  I  have a few things I'd like to add to the conversation and chatter out there about the end of another school year:

It isn’t over until it’s over and the true test of character is how well we see something through when our body, our soul, and our mind is done, but the journey is not yet finished. Summer Break will be here right on cue and we have an opportunity to trust in this truth and grow our own heart, mind, and spirit so our children can see how to do it for themselves someday.

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