On the first day of school around town, I thought I'd write about some things I've been pondering lately.
Three of our children are going to school at the Christian Academy in a nearby town, at our church. They don't start till Monday. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to send them. Last year was hurried and busy with three little ones and six grades of school. At the end of the year we bumped it up to four little ones. I was frazzled most of the time and my kindergartener didn't get much time with me.
For the older three ( the three younger grades are going away), I gave them the opportunity to pick a start date. The mandatory start date was when the littler ones went to school. They would have to keep up with the academy their siblings attend, as it uses the same curriculum we do. Last week I bumped it up to this past Monday as grandparents are coming the end of September and I don't want to teach school that week, nor do I want them to be required to do school.
Two of my boys decided to start mid-July and they are currently on lesson 18 in their year. One decided to wait until the mandatory start date. I gave them the choice, but when it came down to it, it was very hard for me to hold my tongue. I wanted to praise the first two for being diligent and working ahead, but worse than that, I wanted to call my other son lazy for waiting until he had to start.
I had to work through this. If I give them the decision, I need not knock them down because they choose the option I don't want them to choose. If I don't want them to have the choice then I shouldn't give them the choice. So I made some comments I shouldn't have, but then as I thought about it, I realized I should let him choose.
This is new ground for me. Usually I don't give my little ones options like, you can do this or this. I do, during playtime, but those times I really don't care what they choose. When it comes to school if some are started I'd rather they all be started. So one chose to do what I didn't want him to do, but it was an option I gave him.
As they grow up, I want to be the parent who allows my child to make a decision without condemnation from his mother. I want to help him, but not force him. I want to help him weigh his options without revealing my hand as it were. I may let him know what direction I think would be best, if there is such a thing, but leave it all with him. I don't want him thinking "Mom will be mad if I do such-and-such or if I don't do this or that."
I had a wonderful example of parents in this regard. I distinctly remember one situation where I was walking a rather dangerous path and I knew what they thought. But I could talk with them about the situation and freely share my heart wth them because they did not condemn me. I am very sure they were scared to death, but they didn't let that fear consume them. I pray I can closely mirror their hearts in this. I want to be that kind of parent.
What kind of parent do you want to be? What are your goals in this area? As your children grow how do you think it will change? or will it change?