Throughout the years, I've been blessed to periodically receive wisdom in the form of someone else's words. I've been thinking a lot about some of those words. So, that means that by default, you have to think about them, too.
I used to have a boss who was brilliant. Her Ph.D. was from one of "those" universities we all hear about but few can pass the admissions criteria or even afford. We were in a volatile work environment that year and there was never any certainty who was a friend or enemy. Then again, that differed on a daily basis.
In that midst of that horrendous emotional stress, I gave birth to my first child. Checkered and I were one of several couples in our circle of friends having a baby that year and there was surely a lot of unspoken competition. Whose baby could sit up first? Whose baby could talk first? Which preschool would their baby attend? Should we participate in those Mommy and Me classes? What about the Baby Einstein videos? You probably know the routine.
One day, while briefly chatting in the hallway at work, this brilliant boss gave me a quick bit of parenting advice which has guided me through some foggy parenting times.
This was the advice:
Almost every child will eventually walk, talk, and learn to read. Those skills happen naturally. How early your child begins to do those things really doesn't matter. But isn't it just as important that those children know how to make and be friends? Isn't it just as important that kids have time to just be kids?
A decade-plus and three additional babies later, those words are still resonating with me.
very smart person you know there caution!!
And it is just as important for the parents to be kids with their kids. Just my 2 cents worth!
Excellent words! I am going to copy them down and give them to my sister who is having her first. Shhh, don't tell anyone, cat's not out of the bag yet.
I wholeheartedly agree. Allow kids plenty of time for just playing....."Get outdoors and play"...."Shoo"...."Scram".....were some of my favorite parenting phrases. Seriously.....I know spending time with your kids is important, but even more so, kids need to have time for imaginative play on their own, to develop that innate creativity that cannot ever be given by a parent.
I remember reading similar words though more copious from Anna Quindlen in her Newsweek or NY Times column(not sure which she was writing for at the time, but I read both). She'd thought she'd just ruined her children, not do the right thing, say the right thing, get them the exact right education, but the little things are resilient, & mostly just need to be kids.
That really shoupd have been given to me as well...all I got was, "We spend 2 years teaching them how to walk and talk and 16 years how to sit down and shut up."
I second that amen. Childhood only happens once. It should be full of butterflies.
Amen sister! Our son started school in America... our daughter preschool here in Norway.. Although our son was more advanced than our daughter at the same age... he didn't know how to really play like she does... we now think kids being kids is more important than being the smartest in the age group... : )
That resonates with me too. I had to remind myself of it throughout the first two years of my daughter's life. Now that she's in potty training stage, THIS is the new competition. One mom even stopped buying her kid diapers in order to force the training a little more quickly.
Those words are so true! Let kids be kids and let us remember that childhood is not a competition, but a gift.
I totally agree with what your boss said. They do it all naturally when they are ready and in their own time. Stimulation helps, and helps to keep them occupied while you're juggling a million balls and cooking supper at the same time, but in the end it's best to not be stressed about all that stuff.
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