We are coming up on report card and conference season and this is just a reminder to myself not to get distracted. Easier said than done. Life has a way of filling any empty space with opportunities, responsibilities, competition, glitter. It can consume us.
So this is a reminder to myself: keep the main thing, the main thing. This might be different for every family or individual but for me, as a Dad, it’s not to lose sight of the main job: raising well-adjusted, self-reliant, decent, happy kids. It’s not hitting benchmarks, or a certain GPA, or college.
The main thing is for them to be healthy, have good values, and have a good sense of who they are and what they want to spend their life on.
Everything else is secondary. Nice, but not necessary.
P.S., The main main thing, of course, is to love them and to love them while we can. I don’t generally need a reminder of that.
I’m slowly learning to accept that selective ignorance is a necessary parenting skill. Not all the time, of course, but sometimes it becomes very necessary to retain your sanity and enjoy being a parent without needing medicinal Merlot.
It was an up and down week as the holiday spirit drove some roller coaster emotions. As they grow up and life gets more complicated, I’m finding it more and more necessary to let go and accept that I cannot control or answer everything. One of the worst possible parenting instincts is probably to latch on and never let go. The worst, and also the hardest to break.
If I’m constantly worried about every vocab word, every assignment, every social drama, every potential catastrophe then I am going to miss out on the joy and fun of being with my kids. If you are always trying to manage the future you are missing the present. There are some problems we’ll just have to figure out on the fly. And I’m okay with that. Most days.
There’s no way you’ll get the big decisions right if you’re sweating every tiny decision. Continue Reading
The John Lewis holiday ad got me again. Yes, I’m fully aware I’m being emotionally manipulated by a department store, and it’s ridiculous and callous on one level, but….it’s really well done blackmail. It did get me thinking about all my past Christmas presents and if any gifts had a similar long-echoing effect into adulthood.
I couldn’t come up with a single gift like Sir Elton, but each year there would be five or six new books laid out under the tree and trying to decide which one to read first was one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning. This year I’ve read over 75 books, written a book, visited the library so much I know all the librarian’s names, and still get excited just to browse through any bookshop. Feels like that had an impact.
On the other hand, the ad also has me reconsidering the kid’s crayon melter gift. I’m not sure there’s a big future job market in smelting….
With the holidays over, we are back to daily flashcards, piano, spelling and reading practice. As you might guess, Cecilia is thrilled. Even though each one takes 15 minutes or less, it’s usually a source of drama, but I’m a big believer in consistent, deliberate practice to learn new things. I believe it works, but there is a dark side: it’s not fun.
It’s hard. Sometimes it hurts. Most of the time it’s miserable. But it does work. I just haven’t figured out how to explain that to an 8-year old. Continue Reading