Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All About Kids Day

Today, I want to talk about children, kids, little ones, our future and I want you all to know even though I came from a family of 4, was the oldest, married the oldest of 7, raised 4 children, lost a child when he was young, have 11 grandchildren, am raising 3 grandchildren, volunteer with scouts, church programs and have been a substitute teacher (whew!), I am not an expert by any means!

School is starting and whether your child is home schooled, attends public school or private school, kids should never be over scheduled and I see many parents living out their broken dreams through their child while oblivious to the fact their child looks like a Zombie, a true member of the walking dead while pale skin, dark circles under their eyes and falling asleep for a few moments where they can.

Our grands take music lessons, participate in local school plays, church programs and scouting. That keeps them busy and us busier as we try to arrange school schdules and lessons around their activities. None of them have expressed wanting to participate in sports. We do have one that wants to take dance and she would be great, but that would mean another day of fitting something into her schedule and she needs study time.

But I know parents who have their child going to school, sports and other things all in one day. They leave home at 8:00 for school and return around 9:00 for dinner or usually get fed fast food. Do we need them to be that busy?

How about just letting a child have a day to daydream, hang out with friends, do nothing at all if that is what they choose to do and set up their own fun? By force feeding our children our dreams, our plans, our goals for their life, they not only have no time to find out and develop their own interests, they cannot develop their own resourcefulness because we plan their entire life out for them.

Come on moms, does your child really need to wear $120 jeans and $250 coats to school? What are you showing your child? What happens when they go out on their own and have to eat Ramen noodles and shop at the Good Will?

Manners! What has happened to them? I see more kids without them and it is appalling. Last night we attended a childs birthday party at a local park. A group of teens drove by and began barking out the windows at us (Okay, they were teens, nuf said!), then another group of younger children walked by and they were talking loudly and cursing.

What was worse was the children at the party were coming up and asking for food to eat with, 'give me some chips,' 'fix my plate,' 'I want more cake now.' I was like what? I asked one child, can you say please? He stated emphatically, 'NOPE.' Then I won't give you a plate of food. I was shocked, his comment was, 'I will wait for my mom, she will give it to me and walked away.'

The childs aunt, was embarrassed, but told me they get what they want when they want it and are not taught manners at all. When mom got there, I told her she would not give them food while I was there unless they said please.

Proudly, my grandson came up and asked another adult, 'may I please have some chips and salad?' Good for him for remembering his manners. However, this is not just a reflection on him, but a reflection of the adults in his life.

Yes, teens will be teens, they will do stupid things, act crazy around friends, but if you teach them manners, if you teach them to respect others and to be a leader and not a follower, you would be amazed at how they behave away from you. I have seen it in the schools where I teach. I see some students stay to themselves because as one once told me, 'Mrs. K, I am not acting like a fool because they want me to.'

Responsibility. Are you teaching your child responsibility or are you creating a monster? We have 3 small children in our home 8, 9 & 10 and while I do not expect them to act like adults, I do expect them to be responsible with their things. What do they need for school each day and where is it?

We have a mud room an it has 3 pegs for each childs coat and back pack. It works because they come and go out the same door during the school year. They would love to bring it in and leave it on the floor, but then someone trips and I shouldn't be the one to pick it up. They come home, empty their backpacks onto the kitchen table in 4 piles....1 for each of them homework and one for me to sign paperwork.

Two of them wear glasses. I prefer for the youngest to leave his at school with his teacher, that way he knows where they are everyday. He doesn't need them at home, they are for board work and class room things. He kept his glasses all year. His sister needs hers all the time. However, she leaves them here and there, forgets them at school then can't find them, forgets them at home and wants me to bring them.

It was so bad that last year in the evening we would remind her to put them in her backpack. In the morning we would ask her to check and make sure they were in there and 10 minutes after the start of the school phone would ring, could I find her glasses and bring them to her.

I did for about 4 days, then I told her I was busy and they were not my responsibility.

She got much better at it, but in the end, she left her glasses somewhere in Hawaii. I am hoping this year as she is older she will be better. If it is pouring rain or snowing and they are reminded to take a coat to school and choose not to, I will not take it to them later.

By doing everything for our children we are not helping them. We are turning them into children who will one day expect everything to be done for them. Who will not be able to get or to hold down a job and will be living in your home, sitting at the computer all day. I have seen this and it makes me sad.

I recently heard this saying which is so true: "if you want your child to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money." Our grands don't always get to go places other kids do, they don't wear $120 jeans, the don't like NorthFace coats at all, they don't get Starbucks everyday before school, pedicures or manicures.

But we have fun as a family. After dinner, the kids read out loud to us, then we all choose a show we enjoy and lately is has been Oddities or Animal Planet. We share stories, card tricks, jokes and hugs. The kids fight over who sits next to me, they tickle my husband, they share blankets and foot rests and we laugh and say we love you lots.

I know many of you are stay at home moms who home school. I know you must have other things you can add here. I would love to hear how you allow your child to be a child yet teach them life isn't always fair and they don't always get their way. How do you allow your child to be a child?


Scrappy quilter said...

Preach it sister!! I agree 100%. The over scheduling has gotten absolutely ridiculous. I always say "let kids be kids". Let them play in the mud, let them build sand castles, let them dream about dinasaurs. Why does everything they do have to be a competition. Hugs

Quiltingranny said...

This just really weighed heavy on my heart today with the impending school year. I see so many cranky, exhausted kids because they are living their parents dream! Truly sad we have come to a place where kids can't sleep in due to practices of all sorts! If the child wants it great, but I have seen so many children in tears because they just don't want to go!

Robin said...

I think that as the family structure has broken down so has the ability to parent. So many people who are parents now were never parented, so they don't know what to do. Others are so busy working that they are handing over the job to other people. Many people seem to expect teacher to "parent" their kids and that is just stupid. However, what you are seeing is the result of a lack of parenting. It is very frightening because all of these people are going to be "in charge" at some point, and they don't have a clue about ANYTHING. Very thought-provoking post.