Saturday, July 02, 2011
JULY FREEDOM FROM EXPECTATIONS-Healthy Parenting Balance
Guest Blogger: Hally Franz
Summer vacation is here! Summer break used to be a time for kids to ride bikes, enjoy long afternoon tanning sessions, explore the woods with impromptu hikes, and spend mornings in Vacation Bible School. Today, many young people have little time for hikes, bikes and tanning. Instead, youth have camps of all nature, sports, outings with family, church and school, and even summer school to remediate or enrich their education. The word “vacation” may be a misnomer.
My children have completed V.B.S. this season, but have lots of activities before school resumes in August. Few days are left open for spontaneity. While I say that with some melancholy, I make no apologies for the summer’s agenda. I contend that busy kids tend to stay out of trouble, have opportunities for more growth experiences, and build better self-esteem through their multiple involvements.
There is a fine line that parents walk between having high expectations and pushing their children too hard. While my children are often scheduled, I’ve learned to recognize when it’s time to call a “stop day.” Those are days when we hibernate at home and are completely lazy.
When school is in session, I expect hard work and good grades. I think that’s fair. However, I don’t expect all A’s, if I see that they are trying. The letter on the report card is far less important to me than the rigor of the work required and the effort that my children display.
Our society provides an endless array of activities for children, particularly in larger communities. As children grow older, it’s fun to see their interests and talents develop. Parents should allow kids chances to explore and permission to pursue the endeavors they choose. We don’t all have soccer players, cheerleaders and singers. Among our young people, there are actors, trumpet players, junior politicians, entrepreneurs, chalk artists and barrel racers.
My husband is a long-time Boeing employee and military reservist. He loves airplanes; the T-45 Goshawk and the F-18 Hornet excite him. Our son likes horses, woodworking, gardening and drama. That’s okay, too. My 9-year-old daughter has a whole other set of gifts, because no two are alike. We need to let our children be who they are.
Setting and maintaining expectations for our children is tricky. There are so many areas to consider. Hard work, discernment, creativity, compassion and prayer – He expects us to use these.
Hally Franz is a former high school guidance counselor, turned homemaker. Hally sees each day as a new exercise, where routines change and weights vary. Her goal is to maintain all-around fitness for service, while training her children to be competitive, compassionate and Christ-like in the world in which we live. Read more of her articles at The Christian Pulse.