Slow down! Raising our Children is NOT a Race

“The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once,” by Albert Einstein.

 

 

Photo taken during a swim team tryout held on August 6, 2010.

Guide # 2 from my blog entitled, “Only the Best for our Brood!” states: Understand what fits your child’s needs and how it blends in your family’s way of life.

It is also necessary to consider how meeting our goals for our kids blend in our family’s way of life. Certain activities or schools may address a child’s needs, but if these break the budget or mess up relationships in the family, then in all likelihood these are not worth pursuing.

 

My two older kids passed the swim-team tryout which lasted an hour last August 6. In the tryout, they were not given the time to get used to the approximately 50-60 degrees F water temperature of the 50-meter-long pool. The kids probably did more than 30 laps with no rest in between. They would stop if they could not handle it anymore, but then the coach would call them to continue. Understand, that prior to the tryout, it had been a physically and mentally busy day for them. I should have chosen an activity-free day for their tryout schedule, but I did not. I want for them to feel and for me to assess how it would be like when we officially signed up for the training. I want us to imagine what the situation would be like when competitive-swim-team-training becomes a part of our family calendar.

Too often, we refer to schedules either as the father’s, or the kids’ or the mother’s without considering how every activity relates to the family’s schedule. After all, a family is not only about children, nor is it just about the mother or father. My husband and I and our four kids collectively form this unit.

There was a time when not only my children’s activities would overlap, but the crazy schedule would also create conflicts on certain familial obligations and expectations. As a result, I became exhausted and grumpy! I do not know about others, but in ours, the mood in the family is significantly affected by the mother’s stress level.

What now? Our family is not jumping too fast into signing up. Timing is always crucial. My preteens are excellent in their academics and are leaders in their respective groups. Most important of all is that they are happy, well-adjusted and resilient kids. The last thing I would wish for is to mess that up! It is imperative to our family that our children are exposed to a variety of activities that promote strength of character and a well-balanced personality. However, we do not want their bodies and their spirits to be overwhelmed with so many at the same time that the results become counter to what we hope for them. They have two hours of formal Kenpo Karate classes every week aside from being active members of the City’s Stick Fight Club. They have other social, academic and extra-curricular activities which include community service.

We will sign up for a rigorous swim team training only if we would determine that they are ready, and we as a family are committed to embracing a change in our routines.

There is nothing wrong in hoping for what is best for our children. The mistake, some of us parents would do, is that we rush to make things happen for our kids that too often; we fail to see how the process is affecting the family. We do what we do because we love our children. Unfortunately, our choices and impulsive actions fail miserably to convey the message of love.

We (hubby and I) want our kids to develop a skill for swimming. It is a bonus if they would become champions as a result of the training. In any case, as their parent and chief architect of their overall development, I have to make sure my aim is not to train their bodies so rigorously that they one day could evolve into champion swimmers, or that they could earn college scholarships. I am not saying there is something wrong with these. Not at all, as long as I see a happy learner in my children, and so long as my husband and I both agree that our marriage is also blessed by the process.

I agree with Albert Einstein when he said, “The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once.” Every reasonable hope we pray for our children and our family will possibly happen. They will, although certainly not all at the same time. The nature of living and growing happen in stages and phases.

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