Slow Down {31 Days: Day 25}

My daughter has been taking ballet since she was 3. It is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. All the little girls in their pink tights and matching pink shoes will make your heart ache just looking at them! I love seeing my daughter learn the steps, grow in her athleticism and take instruction from another adult. It’s been such a great experience–and one my daughter really enjoys.

Sitting in the lobby with the other moms and dads for the past almost 3 years, I’ve overheard lots about how others raise their kids. Many of the kids my daughter’s age (a mere 5 years old!) have their children in multiple dance classes, sports and music classes all at the same time. Topped off with at least 3-day-a-week preschool or kindergarten where they are learning to read and write!

I do not think ANY of those things are bad, sinful or hurtful. But I do think they can inadvertently replace parenthood. It’s easy to let parenthood’s main tool become the mini-van. We taxicab our kids to ballet to learn poise, soccer to learn athleticism, school to gain education, to playdates to learn sharing, to storytime to hear good literature and to church to meet God. Then we get home and send the kids to bed without a meaningful conversation between us.

Kevin Leman has a book called, It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil: Creating a Happier & Less-Stressed Home(which I think is hilarious!) and although I haven’t read it yet, I heard him speak on the subject. His main point is that our kids do too much. We try so hard to make them a better person by expanding their horizons and building their skills. We sign them up for and chauffeur them to all these activities. But we haven’t given them time to be kids, to hang out with their siblings or connect with us as parents. Our children enjoy these things, yes. But sometimes we forget that our kids also thrive and crave instruction, relationship and time with us.

We tend to let others teach our kids because we think they know best. After all, doesn’t the children’s pastor know better how to teach our kids about Jesus than us? Doesn’t the coach know more about teamwork than us? Maybe. But they do not replace what a parent brings to a child’s life.

I think fostering belonging in our home comes from spending time together. Cutting out just one or two events or classes from your schedule will free up gobs of time to spend as a family. My husband’s family had a rule growing up that they could only be in one sport/activity per season. With four kids, that was probably all they could handle anyway! But it also gave them a chance to do what they wanted as a family, be involved in church and keep life in perspective.

I’m not remotely suggesting that kids shouldn’t be in sports or enrichment activities. I’m only suggesting you look at your daily life and evaluate what’s the most important–does your schedule AND your child’s schedule reflect your family’s goals and desires?

 

Comments

  1. Great post, Amanda! I pray for this balance in life all of the time. My parents did this well- they had a rule that we couldn’t participate in any activity that conflicted with church events. I look back on my growing up and I am soooo thankful for the stance that they took (even though I really wanted to play volleyball). I wouldn’t trade the sweet opportunities I have with my kids for the world!!!!

    • Yes! My parents were the same way, my brother played baseball for awhile but if it was on a church day–he just didn’t go. That’s all there was to it. (And now? He’s still going to church and NOT playing ball. Hmmm….)

  2. It is amazing how much More really is when you do Less. By less I mean less running and more being with each other, having the time to play in the back yard, with their siblings, having the time to let them be bored and come up with their own boredom buster breeds creative kids. It is counter to everything we are surrounded by but I know within my own family we are so much happier when we have a healthy balance between doing and being. Thanks for posting this!

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