So today the boys headed back to school. This should prove to be another fun, crazy, exciting, exhausting year. We have three boys, in three different schools, with three different start and end times. Oh, the joys!
In preparing for this coming school year, I started thinking about what really counted. What was it that I really wanted my children to get from their education, or really, from life with us. I came up with a long list and decided that would never do. Instead, I boiled it down to 5 really important themes that I hope my children learn.
Learning is a Way of Life
We start out learning. We go out learning. Sure, learning seems to be more of the norm when we’re in those magical “school years” between 6 and 18 and then college age. However, is there ever a time in our lives when we don’t need to learn? When we aren’t learning? Or when we shouldn’t be learning?
Our amazing brain needs exercise. I make sure they know how to read, and how to learn, and the rest is a bonus! (but we still learn all we can!)
I think of the movie Short Circuit where the robot craves input and stimulation to learn more about the world around him. So it should be with us. I hope my kids are forever curious and ready to learn more.
Nothing is Impossible
We all have heard, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” I’m sure we mean within reason. I am teaching my kids to set goals, and then to work to reach those goals. We can hope and pray also, but a man I admire said, “Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)
Self Reliance and IndependenceWe teach our children early on to do things for themselves and to think for themselves. As they grow older we are also making sure they are learning skills that will help them through their entire lives. Cooking, cleaning, caring for their health, job skills, people skills, honesty, and responsibility.
Of course this applies to their learning as well. Early on, I am the teacher, the source of all knowledge, and the Mommy. Later I become the guide, the resource, and the motivator. Finally I fade into the background as they push themselves to learn new things and find new ways to further their education and prepare for college and future learning.
As my boys learn these skills, it makes me proud to see their satisfaction that they did it themselves, and while a bit of me is sad that they didn’t need my help, I am so glad it makes them happy to do a good job.
Make the Most of Your TimeYou never know how much time you are going to have to do something. To read the book. To finish the math assignment. To have your parents with you. To read a book to your brother. To hug your baby. If I teach them anything, I hope they have learned that now is the time to cherish what you have. Family is precious. Don’t throw away the relationships because of a moment’s anger. Don’t be too busy to enjoy the time you are living in right now.
Every day is a treasure. Seize it! We call our lives an adventure in learning, every day, and each and every day is it’s own new puzzle. I have to remind myself not to get caught up in planning for and cleaning up from the fun and never to have any. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” (John Lennon)
There is Always Another DayLast of all, life is not perfect. When things can go wrong, and they usually do, time is wasted, patience is lost, messes are made, discouragement sets in, no one is motivated, and accidents happen.
I hope for my children that they realize there is no last chance. Sure, opportunities can be missed, but we keep trying. As long as we don’t give up, there is still hope. One bad day doesn’t make me a failure as a parent, even though it feels that way at the time. One bad test score doesn’t make a failure of a student. One bad month doesn’t make us throw in the towel and go hide under a rock. (True, it can make us want to.) There is always another day. Things will work out. Just smile and remember that.
This is what I want my children to know, besides the fact that their family loves them. If my children leave my home for college, jobs, and life, knowing these things, I feel that our journey has been a success.