Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last week Ms. Peek accused me of only ever telling her to do her homework. She's in second grade - there isn't much homework to be done. However, she has a math assignment everyday and piano to practice. She gets off the bus at 3:45, which doesn't end up being a whole lot of time when you have to fit a snack, dinner & sometimes a bath in there by 7:30pm. So yes, I am always telling her to do her homework after school.

This gem of an accusation really kind of irritated me. I don't like to be accused of anything for one thing. But she had just spent almost 3 hours playing next door because I wasn't home when she got off of the bus and my neighbor was kind enough to have Ms. Peek & Skipper over until Cornbread or I got home.


The comment set us both up for a much needed reminder. A reminder that we both needed.

A few months ago, a good friend of mine told me that her job as a mom is to equip her children to be good, well-functioning grown ups. Huh. I had never thought of it that way, but you can believe that I grabbed onto that and ran with it:) But I forget sometimes.

So after the homework conversation, I went to her room to have my own conversation with her. I reminded her - and myself - that my job is to equip her to become a good, well-functioning grown up. My job is to help her get to the point where she can function on her own.

My job is NOT to make her life easy and comfortable.

While I enjoy peace and I enjoy making my children happy, it is counterproductive for all parties involved if I make their lives easy.

To be clear, it is also NOT my job to make their lives miserable. I will make their lives as easy and comfortable as possible in the interest of having a happy, peaceful home. However, that is secondary. My primary responsibility to them is to help them become more and more responsible for their lives. And that doesn't mean solving all of their problems for them. It means allowing them to have problems and helping them solve them... and little by little allowing them to solve more problems on their own. Deal with the consequences of their bahavior. Take responsibility for their actions and for their lives.

Sometimes I forget that parenting is work. I forget that I need to be intentional about my parenting. Sometimes I get so caught up in the idea of making our house a home and having a happy and peaceful family existence that I forget that it is secondary to what my main parenting job is.

My girls will learn their math, reading, geography, writing, social studies, etc. in school. I have confidence that our school system has hired capable and wonderful teachers and my girls will learn the necessary school stuff at school. I am not responsible for teaching them those things.

I am responsible for teaching them how to navigate through life. What it means to love Jesus and to walk with him. I am responsible for showing them how to treat others. For teaching them compromise, yet assertiveness. I am responsible for affirming them and helping them learn who they are as young ladies and to be comfortable and happy with who they are. I am responsible for allowing them to be kids, for giving them time to play and create and imagine. I am responsible for teaching them how to make healthy choices in many areas of their lives. I am responsible for teaching them respect, manners, compassion, empathy and self-control.

There are many more things I'm responsible for teaching them - the previous list is not an exhaustive one. Many of these things I am still working on myself. Many of these things are daily battles for me. I believe that children learn through example - which doesn't excuse me from directly teaching them, however, it does compell me to work on being the kind of person I want them to be.

As with everything in my life - its all about balance. And I get out of balance a lot.


Jen 12:01 PM  

Ah. Homework. The bane of my existence. Yes, it gets easier. No, it doesn't. I still have to remind Caro every day to do her homework~we are in middle school now so there's lots of it! Her job as a kid is to seek out instant gratification. My job as the parent is to help her learn to seek out ways to delay gratification. I'm so deep today.

April 4:12 PM  

Interesting! Some of the many troubles we have in our home. I actually had to create a specific schedule for my kids to follow each day SO that they don't hear me say, it is time to homeschool "ALL" day long like they have accused me of. Sad!!! But indeed training them to use their time wisely is what my goal is right now so that they don't blame someone else for stealing their fun. Which apparently I had been doing "ALL" day long...LOL!

Skooks 11:15 PM  

So true. Have I told you lately that I'm glad you became a parent before me? You teach me a lot even if you don't always realize it. None of us are perfect, Jana. But you're working the mommy thing well. You really are.

i am not 9:28 AM  

M - you may have just paid me the highest compliment ever. Thank you. I wish we lived closer!

Mommy Brain 11:48 AM  

I hate homework! I hate practicing musical instruments even more. I hate reading sheets even more than that. And I hate spelling tests most of all! WAH! WAH! WAH!

I feel much better now, thank you.

Great reminder Jana.

Skooks 3:16 PM  

:) Me too.

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