cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Let Them: A Saturday Series

This first Saturday series is called "Let Them". There are so many things we just big, fat don't let our kids do. I'm meeting some of those things head-on and seeing what happens.

Let Them Do What They Love

Disassembling transponders, creating new recipes, building a robot, writing original music scores, painting, gardening, raising sea monkeys. Every child is hardwired with certain talents and interests. We encourage additional interests, but there are inherent "bents" in each person. One person is artsy. Another is analytical. A third is adventurous. Too often society tries to cram all the kids into their cookie cutter hobbies. Everyone in grade school takes an art class which means painting old soup cans for Mother' Day pencil holders. What about the poor kid who would rather manipulate magnets or design a scale model replica solar hovercraft? 

Before all the teachers give me an earful about trying to staff and budget my insane programs, let me say thank you. Thank you for teaching art when you have a degree in history. Thank you for corralling 30+ kids into a too-small art room, managing to keep paint off all their clothes and making sure their mamas receive a Mother's Day gift. You rock. Also, I know you've been saving soup cans for eons and your husband was beginning to grumble about the overflowing bags of soup cans taking up residence in his garage. You doubly rock.

I'm not suggesting an elective class for building scale model replicas of solar hovercrafts (although, how cool would that be?!?). I am suggesting moms and dads foster their children's interests, even when they don't coincide with yours. What I am not suggesting is enrolling little Susie in hip-hop, ballet and tap classes just because she busts a move in the living room. Take it easy Tiger Mom. 

So your kid keeps disassembling your vacuum cleaner? Go to Goodwill and buy the cheapest electronic gadget and hand him/her a screwdriver. Your kids are forever planting seeds from their apple snacks? Buy them flower seeds that might actually grow into something.* You see, this isn't about automatically adding more extracurricular activities to your calendar; It's about sending a strong message to your kids. I see that you really enjoy ________. You possess a God-given strength in this and I want to encourage you to pursue it! So, as we say, easy peasy lemon squeezy.**

One more note: We may not get it. It may not be our thing. It warms my heart every time I hear mamas talk superheros and comic book villains with their boys, or daddies who listen to endless princess chatter. Parents who stay tuned in despite their own disinterest will reap precious benefits. When we disengage from our children's interests we disengage from our children. When we disengage from our children we've lost the opportunity to minister to their tender hearts. 

The current sewing projects taking over my coffee table.


*My children still insist on watering their apple seeds. *Sigh* Poor homeschooled children just won't give it up...
**Not all interests are cheap nor easy. But just because Susie busts a move doesn't mean it's time to whip out the credit card. Sit on it for a season before shelling out a dime, then consider Parks and Rec, or (seriously) Youtube dance tutorials (previewed and approved by you). If she still shows interest and promise, then discuss one class. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! Parents who want to stay connected need to remember that there isn't an age limit on this, either - or a generation "limit". I am finding that it's just as important to cultivate this with my grandchildren, though it is in a different (non-parental) way. Parents who disengage from their adult children, will soon find themselves loosing that connection, too. "Parents who stay tuned in despite their own disinterest will reap precious benefits." Amen!


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