Archives For kindergarten

I was at the supermarket the other after a long day of work and had a long list of weekly groceries. One of our meals consisted of required securing of good ole American hot dogs and buns to match. I am surprised to find that not much has changed in the quantity matching of hot dogs and buns since George Banks’ rant in the classic movie Father of the Bride (1991). Any father goes through a moment or two like this. If you have never seen this scene, you will relate when things get tough trying to take care of everyone. We’ve all earned the right from time to time to lose it like George.

George Banks sums it up in the movie,

You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. Then comes the day when she wants to get her ears pierced, and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. From that moment on, you are in a constant panic. You worry about her meeting the wrong kind of guy, the kind of guy who only wants one thing, and you know exactly what that one thing is, because it’s the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then, you stop worrying about her meeting the wrong guy, and you worry about her meeting the right guy. That’s the greatest fear of all, because, then you lose her.

I have 2 and 4-year-old daughters. I sure hope I’m not that point of giving them away like George Banks. I feel his similar sentiment and of course it matters to me who they could potentially marry one day. That is years away of course and even if they choose to never get married I must prepare for that. There is a different loss I need to prepare for, which is independence from both mom and dad. This week I felt a bit of what George described when I dropped my oldest daughter Madelyn off at her new school for Junior Kindergarten. Yes, it is only a three-day school this year but it represented a step toward becoming more of an individual that gradually won’t need me like she does now.

Unless they are in denial, any mother or father understands that their job to raise children is the hardest occupation they will have in life. Forget the spreadsheets, TPS reports, or whatever you do in life for a day job.

In the past 5 years I’ve discovered that my greatest challenge is sharing who Jesus Christ is to my kids amidst all of life’s busyness. I didn’t know who Jesus really was until I was 15 but it has been my prayer since both my girls were born for them to understand and trust in Christ in their circumstances. Their mother nor I will be there for every difficult moment and I can guarantee life will be have plenty of them. I want them to recognize that they are more than a bride here on earth but one being prepared for their savior, Jesus.

Part of God’s work is allowing me to let go and trust him in this process and allow him to be the real “father of the bride”. The issue is in my heart and how I need to let go over time. Our kids are God’s kids and the more I recognize that, the more freedom I have to be a good father and allow God to work.

God help us all, right?

 

If you are parent, what have you learned in “letting go” of your kids?

 

 

I was impressed with the 15 minute story on 60 Minutes this week about “Redshirt Students”. I became aware of this issue since having kids and if you do not know much about it, you can read a great article in Huffington Post. To summarize the issue, many parents are holding back their kids to start Kindergarten a year later. Why? The idea is so their kids will be older and have an edge on other students. They could be physically bigger to be more developed athletes (read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers on Canadian Hockey players). They could be more advanced in the classroom. They could eventually be the first to drive at 16 to have a social edge. They could also be better leaders just for the fact of being older. It seems to be an issue affecting boys more than girls but nevertheless it is happening to both. I envision a Tiger Mom’s saliva dripping from its mouth at the thought of this.

There are plenty of negatives to this like being bored in the classroom, have behavioral issues, trouble relating to the younger students, etc. Yes, it is confusing for the kids.

But this is not about the kids. 

Photo Credit: Premus

Brooke and I have two wonderful, unique, and imperfect girls. Our oldest daughter will be starting a Pre-K class next year so this issue hits home as we observe what other parents do for their kids. Brooke and I could technically hold back our daughter a year from Kindergarten and start her at 6 1/2.  Yes, 6 1/2, which is crazy to us. Despite being the youngest in her class, so far she has every ability to keep up with the older kids. There are many instances of younger kids need to be held back, which is understandable and shows how each situation is unique.

The idea of redshirting students reminds me of my experience dealing with some of my friends’ parents at a young age. When I was even eight years old, I knew that these parents were pushing my friends at every sport. They verbally abused them, practically broke out a whip to keep them practicing, rarely praised them, etc. It was disgusting and if they were smart enough to start their kids earlier in school, they would have (maybe they did). But most of my friends who were pushed around so hard by their parents were stressed, unhappy, and eventually ended up in serious therapy (or should have). I am thankful for my parents were not pushy but encouraging in that process and ultimately helped me to be successful in the things I was most passionate about in those years.

Why do parents do this?

There are three reasons:

  1. Envy: They see other parents’  kids “succeeding” early in life. They see it as necessary to make sure their kids do the same or better. It is pure envy.
  2. Fear: God forbid their kids would not be the best in something or not succeed. They feel the need to “protect” their kids because they fear failure.
  3. Pride: Even parents want to feel significant. Perhaps it is through their child’s success? Perhaps they are trying to make up for some issue in their own life and forcing it on their own kids? But pride is at the root of all of this.
All of this points to a redshirt life. We all are susceptible to this lie.

The redshirt life is about safety, control, and lack of adventure.

Brooke and I have discovered as parents how easy it can be to be caught in this trap. The idea of redshirting our kids is a reminder that Brooke and I need to give our kids up to God. We want to be great stewards with the gifts God has given us, especially our kids. But ultimately this all is a reminder that we need to give up control. God reminded me this week through 2 Timothy 1:7 (King James),

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

There will be many more times we will encounter issues like this. May we all be in prayer for our kids and to also ask God to reveal our own hearts in the process. The verse above is about trusting God, thinking with the good mind he gave us and to always act in love for our children.