Saturday, August 21, 2010

Making Lemonade

I'm going to answer a question I got in a comment to the I'm that Mom post here instead of in the comments. This is what she said:

But here's my question: Children eventually have to grow up and get a job.
They'll have to follow rules they think are dumb, unproductive, unfair. They'll
have to be somewhere at an externally decided time. If they've never had to do
any of those things, how are they going to be in the work force?
Believe me, I'm not being's really a question I struggle with as a mom.
It was something I struggled with as a teacher. I think there are times you have
to "play the game" a little because you DO at some point have to function in the
I love the reckless abandon my girls have...but I also love that
they're learning there's a time and place for everything. I struggle with
finding the balance.
Your thoughts?

And here are my thoughts:

The key here is that in life when you have to do something unpleasant, you to do it to meet a goal that you chose. You get up really early when you are a night owl, to go work a job you chose to work for reasons you decided were good reasons. You deal politely with a cranky father-in-law because he is your soul mates father and he loves him and you love your husband and want him to be happy. You endure the experience of labor and birth because you really want a child. If you look closely at the things you do in life that you don't like to do, I am sure you will find you are doing them for a reason that is important to you or to meet a goal that you choose to accomplish. It is the same with your children.

Even now, my kids do many things they don't like to do in the name of reaching a goal or making someone else happy or making things easier for the family or with friends. They know life is not always a cakewalk. They know the good stuff is worth the trouble it takes to get it.

I don't have to force them to do anything unpleasant for them to know this. You do not have to break a kids arm to get them prepared for the future possibility of a bone fracture. I know, extreme example, but I have always liked how perfectly that analogy drives home the point. Life will provide all the challenge and struggle your kids need to learn how to make the best of it. They will have things that are important enough to them to endure the yucky parts of life.

And, if life tends to provide a struggle all on it's own without your help, why not focus on the fun? Why not make life as good as it can be, when you have the power to do so? By doing so, you can show your kids how to make lemonade out of the lemons.

Hope that helps!


~Tara said...

Perfectly said. :)

I like the point "why not focus on the fun". It reminds me of something I heard and repeat often "Life provides so many necessary No's that it's important to say yes whenever possible."

Sarah said...

Thanks for your thoughts! I've never turned into a blog post before :)

Diana said...

Nicely put! And thank you for you kind words recently! I know we would be welcome...Helena has been more interested in individual play dates of late, so that is where we're spending a lot of our available time:-)

Stephanie said...

Excellent :)

Sandra Dodd said...

My three are grown now; Holly's 18 and working full time lately (as a caretaker during the dad's commute and work hours, for a girl whose mother died nearly two months ago). She has different schedules different days, because the dad's job is like that. She just goes when she's supposed to, and comes back after he's home.

Marty has worked several different schedules, including at 16 and through his 17th year, 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Pretty school-hoursish! He had no problem. Today he slept until after 3:00, because he wasn't schedule to do anything. Monday he starts community college classes. I'm sure he'll get up and go without my help.

If Kirby, who's now 24, had practiced waking up "for work," he wouldn't be prepared for his current schedule which is 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. five days a week.

Kirby has worked since he was 14, so ten years. Few 24 year olds can say that. And he did it by sleeping when he wanted and waking up when and if he needed to.