Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our boy and a Perspective on Parenting

The Elementary school here in town has an award day for every quarter.  I learned about this...hmmmmm, last quarter?  :)  The joys of having a boy - you don't get tons of details.  They give out an Art award, perfect attendance awards and every teacher chooses an "honor student".  This student shows good attitude, is respectful, is kind etc. Rod and I were notified about 2 weeks ago that Jared would be getting the honor student award for his class.  We were told BEFORE Spring Break and it was HARD to keep it from him as it is to be a surprise!  But we did good.

He was surprised to see us sitting in the auditorium when he walked in.  He was very excited to get the award.

I told Rod that we should give him an reward for doing so well in school.  So we decided to give him this toy shotgun that Rod found on clearance for less than $3 at the Tractor Supply Store.  It has 4 "shells" and can even have smoke coming out of it.  Jared was more excited about this.
Look how serious he is!
This year has been tough.  I've contemplated homeschooling often.  I think from October to February I would hear from Jared more mornings than not how much he hated school.  I knew that this wasn't fully accurate and I think that the real reason was that he was bored.  He wanted to do Science and Social Studies and they didn't do any science in his class until February.  Oh, the struggles we would have in the mornings!  He has had great behavior at school the whole year and that he was rewarded for that is so nice.  Sometimes my heart still breaks for him as he was often overlooked during Maggie's cancer battle.  So this award was doubly nice. :)

(Altho, there is a part of me that finds it sad that we must reward kids for behaving the way that they should be......)

Which leads me to something that I have thinking about posting for some time...

I am odd, I have my own set of very strange idiosyncrasies - just like each one of us does.  There is one that we have as a family.  Our kids do not do any extra-curricular activities (besides church).  It is not that we think that they are bad - we can see that for many families (and kids) they can be very beneficial.  Maybe if we chose to homeschool (which is a thought that seems to be floating in my head often these days) we would choose to put our kids in some activities.  But maybe not....

Can I share with you our reasons?

1.  Our first reason was money.  Yes, remember that Rod and I tend to be cheap frugal and when we had 2 children at diapers at the same time we were even worse.  However, we were thrown aback (doesn't that make me sound so collegiate? or something?) at how expensive a 30 minute lesson in something can be for a toddler - even when it is in a group setting.  Yikes!  When raising a family on one income, there are often choices to be made and for us this was one.

2.  We believe that the most important relationship in our home (outside of our relationship with God) is our marriage - husband and wife.  When we are so busy running our kids around doing all of these activities when they are 5 and 7, we get little time for each other and what time there is we are too tired to be with each other.  We know that when junior high and high school hit it will be another story .....  When our lives are centered around getting our young children to all of their activities, it gives our children the impression that our world is centered around them.  As much as I dearly love our children, the world doesn't revolve around them and all around us today are kids who believe otherwise.

3.  Our kids like us right now.  We know that in another couple of years they won't want anything to do with us. They won't want to walk beside us at Target or sit in the same booth with us at Dairy Queen.  I'm hoping that I won't have to drop them off a block from their destination for fear of being seen with me in public.  (Maybe I will have sing Jingle Bells at the top of my lungs in July like my dad did when we were out in public and I was "bored" and/or embarrassed to be with my parents!  Love you, dad!) A Psychology theorist named Eric Erickson, believes that there are stages to a person's development (and his stages actually make sense!) and right now is the time that they like us.  So why would I want to ship them off to others during the small amount of time that I have them and they think I am cool!?!  :)

4.  Social skills....I don't know about you, but I haven't met too many 1st graders that have good social skills, so why would I want to have my kids learn social skills from them.  I was sharing with some friends, Jared has come home a bzillion times this school year telling me how "Billy" said he isn't his friend today. First of all, I thought only girls were like that!  Second, those are not the social skills I want my kids to learn!  My kids do not need help learning how to be disrespectful to others - they have that down pat b/c of their sinful nature (don't we all?).

5.  Stress.  The stress of "hurry, eat this so we can get going", "hurry do your homework so that we can make it to your practice", "hurry, you are now so sweaty from your practice that you need to take a quick shower even tho it is WAY past your bedtime." is not worth it to us.  Like I mentioned before, I know that this will happen when they are older, but while they are little, it is nice to not have nights like this.

I am sure now that you think that we are really odd, but hopefully I've at least made you think.  I don't beleive that activities/lessons etc are bad - they can be good things.  I am just not sure that the positive out-weighs the negative for us.  This works for us.  What works for you?

Linking up to:

Women Living Well


  1. It is great to find another parent that feels the same way! I do take my kids to do free activities, but at 3 and 1 I find it silly to pay to have someone else entertain them.

    When they are older we may allow them to do some sport activity, but they will have to initiate it and we will limit how much time they can spend doing it. I don't want all of our family time to be spent driving to various practices.

  2. Love this post....and agree with you wholeheartedly...especially on #2, which seems to get so often overlooked in the rush to give kids all the opportunities they never had.

    I also emphasize with the social aspect...my son has really struggled to find his place with some good, Christian friends, and with middle school looming in the fall, I pray daily that God not only sends him one, but that Kris and I can spend more time with him showing what a young man of God really is, and living that out in my own life. I don't have any answers...really, just lots of questions...and praying my kids don't have to take the long and winding road I did to get where I'm at. Thanks for sharing, Rachel, and for the hospital tips!

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Just a question... What is stopping you from homeschooling? Seems like you have pretty much decided. :) Find other homeschool families near you, even through your church. Talk to them, ask questions. AND pray about it! He will have your final answer!

  4. Not odd at all : ) I think everyone needs to do what is right for their own family. I also think that crazy busy kid pendulum is beginning to swing the other way and I know of more families limiting kid activities to one.


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