Letting Kids Be Kids

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Some may call me a lazy mom, but I sometimes wish life was more like “Little House on the Prairie.”  You know. The simple life.  Where kids learned to work hard to help the family business flourish and spent the rest of their time running around in the tall grass, catching tadpoles in the stream, and using their imaginations to create care-free fun until sunset.

Let's stop the madness and let our kids be kids.

Now, it just seems like there is so much pressure to turn our children into adults as soon as they are old enough to speak in complete sentences.  You feel like you aren’t giving your children the opportunities they deserve if you don’t have them involved in two sports, a musical instrument, a dance class or two, and of course scouting and church youth groups.  This makes the thought of having several children overwhelming.  I have five sweet children, and the thought of having each of them involved in just one extracurricular activity overwhelms me when I add up the time I will spend driving  them to practices, attending games and performances, not to mention the fees that will need to be paid and the uniforms that will need to be purchased.

My bigger concern, however, is when in all the madness will my kids get to be kids?  And when will our family ever find the time to be a family?  To laugh and play together.  To work and pray together. When will my husband and I get a chance to teach them the things that are most important and make memories with them they will never forget?  In my efforts to make sure my children take advantage of every opportunity available to them, will I rob them of the only opportunity they will really have to experience a carefree childhood? I don’t love being stressed out- do I really want them to be? We as parents should just agree to stop the madness and enjoy our kids while they are still kids.  Can we?

So, I am trying to be careful not to impose my desires (that are a little selfish though I think natural) to have my children look impressive and accomplished to others on my children’s precious and fleeting childhood years.  They will have a lifetime of to-do lists to complete, appointments to make, and schedules to keep the moment they reach adulthood.  But, while they are mine, I want them to learn who they really are. I want them to know that their value as an individual has nothing to do with how many activities they are involved in, how many touchdowns they scored, if they made the elite dance team, or even if they got their eagle scout.  Who they really are are children of God with limitless potential.  They are loved by Him and by me, and the most valuable thing they will contribute to this world will not be trophies or medals, it will be the love they offer to those around them.

At the same time, I don’t want them to be lazy slugs 😉 , so I trust that God will inspire them and me to know what things are worth our time, what passions should be pursued, what goals should be set and accomplished.  And I trust that He will inspire me when to say no to my own projects and instead be present with my kids to teach them who they really are.  We may not end up with a shelf full of trophies, but I hope we will end up with a home full of love and children who become loving, secure adults with hearts full of happy childhood memories.

How do you find the balace between helping your children reach their potential and pushing them to hard to do to much?

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this post on parenthood by Trish.