Today’s post comes from the one and only Andy Gray. Andy is my cousin and this guy knows me better than anyone else on the planet! We grew up together, fought together (he was a girly pincher), laughed together and found ourselves in lots’ of trouble together. I remember when we were just kiddos, Andy told on me for hiding my AC/DC record from my mom and dad!
Andy is one of the most amazing fathers that I know. He deeply loves his family, serves his wife and truly lives out Deuteronomy 6. As you can see from the pics above, Andy is qualified to speak on the parenting topic because he has six freakin kids! I guess he hasn’t figured out what causes kids yet!!?!
Andy, thanks for posting and thanks for always being there.
So here’s Andy…
The end of the school year can be a relief for parents and their kids from hectic school schedules and activities. For others, it is only the beginning of the craziness that comes from extra-curricular activities, baseball leagues, and coming up with something to occupy the kids throughout the summer. Most parents that I know have precious little time themselves because they are just trying to keep up with all of their children’s activities. The hectic pace at which we live our lives can be stressful and exhausting for a parent. While our children may seem to have boundless energy and are easy to become “sooooo bored”, the sheer volume of activities and commitments that we allow them to engage in can also become a source of stress for our kids.
If the pace of our lives and the associated activities that consume our families’ time are so exhausting or stressful, why do we do it? Certainly we are teaching our children something or instilling some virtues and values in them with all of this craziness. What exactly is it that we are teaching them? Are we concerned that there is some experience that they will miss out on if we do not sign them up for summer camp, band, dance, soccer, and underwater basket weaving? Your neighbor’s child might just have an advantage, be a “more well-rounded” individual, and get accepted to that Ivy League school because of his basket weaving experience.
Your children are learning how to become adults from you. If you have not yet learned how to build breathing room, time for rest, and a life focused on important things (eternal things) into your own life, you should probably start there. If you do have a personal perspective that provides these things, are you imparting those values and respective schedules into your kid’s lives? Time is a commodity that we all have a limited quantity of to invest wisely. Think about the activities that you are either allowing or encouraging your children to invest their time in. When they become adults, what will the return be on that valuable investment? While all of the commitments we may have are with good things, are they really the best things?
As a parent, you certainly know that your child is unique or that your children are very different from one another. Each of them has individual abilities and interests that challenge and motivate them. Instead of just engaging in activities because they are available, they can do it, or their friends all do it, choose those opportunities that are tailored to their unique capabilities. Some wisdom from Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Are we so concerned about having well-rounded children that we neglect the value of focusing our children’s talents and time on pursuits where they naturally excel and will yield a lifelong benefit? Michelangelo said of one of his beautiful statues, “I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free”. Your child was born with unique capabilities and passions. With the proper perspective and focus we are in a position, as their parents, to carve away all of that unnecessary “material” to reveal the beautiful thing that they were individually intended to become. Maybe this summer is the time for you to decide what activities need to be carved out of their schedules.
What 1 thing do you need to say NO to this summer?