Monthly Archives: September 2012

Parenting: It’s not a competitive sport!

If you ask any parent about their child you will hear descriptions that eventually reveal the uniqueness of each child, how they are different (in a good way) from any other child alive, special, precious, amazing. It’s how it should be. I have yet to meet a parent that tells me their child is run-of-the-mill, ordinary, just like every other kid ever born. So let me ask you then, if each of our children is different and gifted and precious in their OWN way, why do we feel the need to compare as parents how we parent?

Why do we say things like “I could never do that” (usually referring to our choice to homeschool), or “wow, that must keep you busy” (referring to any activity we choose to engage our children in). Why do parents ask other parents what they do for discipline, school, vaccination, bed-time routine, feeding, diapering, etc., and then immediately make a judgement statement or an excuse for why “we” don’t do it that way? Seriously? Seriously?!

If each child is unique, gifted, special, precious and full of potential than it stands to reason that the approach you take to feeding, training, teaching, disciplining them would be different. It stands to reason that each set of parents will have to make unique decisions on what is best for each of their children based on who those precious little people are. What fits for my daughter may not fit for my son. They are different people. And if they are different and require different approaches when they share so much in common (genetic ancestry, parents, home environment, etc.) then it seems to me that the approach I take for my children will not necessarily work for yours. I mean they have nothing else in common other than perhaps being born in the same generation, in the same general geographic location. Those are important factors yes, but not important enough to mean they should be raised the same, educated the same, fed the same, engaged in the same activities and presented the same options.

Recently a surprising large number of my friends and acquaintances have opted to homeschool their children. Can I tell you all a big secret? None of us who ended up homeschooling consulted each other, nor did we choose to homeschool our kids because that’s what the others were doing. Sure we talked about it, but when we talked about it I’d venture to say 98% of us had already decided to homeschool or were leaning very strongly in that direction as we were researching our options. There was never a conversation that went along the way of “okay, if you’re all doing it we’re going to do it too, its gonna be fun!” That conversation never happened. Ever.

And yes a large number of our friends have chosen to place their children in a variety of other educational environments. Some are in public schools, some in Catholic schools, some in other Christian schools and some others have opted for other private schools. Truthfully I don’t think any of them should pull their kids out of their schools and homeschool just because that’s what I choose to do. Nope, wrong motivation.

Please, can we as parents do our children (and ourselves) a huge favour and realize that the decisions we make should be based on what is best for OUR OWN unique children and not what the group is doing? Can we stop comparing what everyone else does and seeing how we stack up? Can we extend enough grace to other parents and assume that the decisions they are making are based on the uniquely gifted, talented individuals they have been blessed to parent? Can we just stop competing with each other or treating each others’ decisions as a judgement statement of our own parenting choices? Just because I’m doing something for my child does not mean I think you should be doing it for yours.

Okay, rant over. Time to go take my son to soccer now.