Monday, August 17, 2009
3rd grade has always seemed like a big year to me. Kindergarten - 2nd encompasses such a wide scope of learning....lots of general, basic ideas....reading, writing, arithmetic....then 3rd grade hits....and hopefully those acquired skills come together and can be applied to the big picture of education.
As Carter enters the 3rd grade and this new world opens to him, I can't help but reflect back on the 8 years we've been raising him and wonder how we're doing. This is the most important (stressful, emotional, difficult) job I've ever held and I'm really missing those mid-year reviews I used to dread in the business world. For someone to come in.....see our family and parenting ideas.....and point out, "You're really screwing this part up" would be painful, yes, but so helpful. Because, after all, isn't it always too late when we figure that out on our own?
A counselor once told Blake and me that the first 5 years of childhood will shape a kid's personality for life. The pressure!
We've learned a lot in this venture of raising kids and have plenty more to learn, no doubt. A few things I'm sure of so far:
*Laying a child down to sleep and leaving the room with cries still heard as I walk out the door is one of the hardest things I'll ever experience. It's also the best thing I could do for that child. So, I keep walking.
*Declining requests for insignificant "things" while grocery shopping is not fun, but I'm teaching our kids a wealth of lessons....appreciation, value, sacrifice....all in one simple word - "No".
*The simple memories from taking a child to the park, a museum, on a walk through the neighborhood far outlast the toy I previously told him he could not have.
*Praying before meals.....where we sit down as a family to eat together each evening.....is a life long ritual I hope our kids take with them into their own adult lives, as I did to mine.
*Apologizing to a child for being wrong can be just as effective as being right.
*Cooking with kids almost always results in a messy kitchen.....but also, a math lesson, a chance to work together, and an opportunity to share.
*Those people who show up in our kids' lives are the ones who matter....through visits, phone calls, letters in the mail. Forget about trying to make them all perfect. Appreciate those who appreciate your children.
*Chores are a constant in life. Teaching them now makes them easier down the road.
*Siblings are the most significant (genetically and hopefully, emotionally) relationships a person can hold. Treasure them and keep them close.
*Sharing memories from our childhood years is fascinating to young minds. Keep talking....and be grateful they're still listening.
*A loving, respectful marriage could be the most lasting impression made on children. Be nice. Little eyes are watching.
Phew! That was an emotional ride. Kind of like parenting, huh?