Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Perspective

My Madison cannot do a cartwheel. And that is alright. I remember picking her up from school one day years ago, and she was in tears. She told me that in gym class that day, she was the only girl who could not do a cartwheel. As I squeezed the steering wheel tighter until my knuckles went white, I flipped through the Rolodex in my mind, frantically searching for a place where my sweet little seven year old could learn to do a cartwheel so all would be right in her world. And suddenly, I stopped. Something in my mind quieted that frantic voice, and told me to just stop. And get some perspective. And I am so thankful for that moment in my life.

I asked myself if in the big picture of life, did it really matter if Madison could do a cartwheel? If she has a burning desire to be a gymnast or competitive cheerleader...yes. Absolutely. If not...if her interests lie elsewhere... then...no. I can do a cartwheel. And guess what? It doesn't matter. I haven't done one in thirty years. It does not play a role in my life. So why stress about it? Why spend hours and hours driving her to a gym and watching her practice and practice just so she can do something that other people think she should be able to do?

Peyton cannot do one either. In fact, Peyton has no interest in any extra curricular activities. At least the ones other people her age are spending hours and hours doing. She doesn't do basketball or cheerleading or volleyball. Does this mean she is wrong? Or lazy? No way. It simply means that she has chosen to spend her time doing things she enjoys. Peyton spends her time at home. She is learning to cook, bake, plan meals, do laundry, and care for Flynn. Peyton spends her extra time babysitting for friends of ours. She loves it and does an excellent job. She also loves to read, and spends hours visiting other places between the pages of books.

Rhett does not play basketball. The horror, right? ( Insert sarcasm here.) Around here, young people start basketball in third grade. So, Rhett dutifully signed up for third grade basketball a few years ago. He spent every Saturday that winter in an old gymnasium learning drills and skills with every other boy in his grade. He came home with pages of drills he was supposed to practice in our basement every night. Never mind that our basement was finished. With carpet. We went to the final practice and watched as every single boy in his grade showed off skills and talents. We looked around and saw all the families sitting there as if it were the National Championship Game. And we waited. We waited to see if this was something Rhett wanted to pursue. In the end...in a word...no.( Insert huge sigh of relief here.) Rhett decided that while it was ok, he really had no interest in spending the rest of his school career playing basketball. And Steve and I were glad. If that were his true interest, if he had an innate talent, and innate desire...then yes. We would encourage him to continue. As it was, he did not.

 His interest lies in something different. Movies. Rhett loves movies. He has a collection of over a hundred and fifty DVDs and watches them over and over. He studies the characters and the plot lines. He follows the story lines and character development. And he loves it. This is much more than a hobby for him. Because we allowed Rhett to follow his own interests, he found a place where he can learn more about the movies he loves. He spent so much time at the theatre watching movies, the lovely family that owns it asked him to help out there. He now knows how to run the movies and works the concession stand. He helps sweep up after the shows and talks movies for hours with the owners. And he loves it. Side note here...my dear father's very first job was also running movies in the local theatre years and years ago. : )

What will the future hold for my little Flynn? If I had to guess based on her current interests, I would say something along the lines of wearing a blue ball gown and a tiara while dancing with a handsome prince. : )

Where am I going with all this? I am simply stating that it is alright to say no. To all the young mothers out there who are beginning to feel the pressure to sign your preschooler up for soccer or basketball or gymnastics simply because everyone else is...you have a choice. If your child shows an interest in or a talent for something, then by all means foster that. Encourage it. And sign him up. But if not...if your little one really has no interest in soccer or basketball or gymnastics...then allow her to find what she IS interested in. And allow her to flourish and succeed in that. Just don't be pressured to spend precious hours of your little ones childhood sitting in a gym or at a soccer field just because you think that is what you are supposed to do. You have a choice. Put it in perspective. And enjoy your children's childhood. Because it goes by so very quickly. And your memories are what you are left with. Make them happy ones. Be it sports or art or movies or childcare...let your child find his or her own thing. Put it in perspective. And enjoy.

My dear sweet husband said it best last evening as we pulled away from Dairy Queen with our treats made by Madison. He said he was happy for her. Some kids have sports, he said. And Madison has Dairy Queen. And all is right with the world.



Last year with my working girl...


And this year...doing what she loves!
 Peyton with her Flynn...


 doing what she loves.


Rhett's impressive movie collection...


and with a couple that he loves. 

And proof of what I think is Flynn's wish for the future...



 Because this is what she loves.
And because the world could use more princesses, don't you think?

20 comments:

  1. It is alright..really it is. Liam has never played sports, not that he could because of his heart. I tease him alot and tell him he needs to go to the Lego program up at RIT (Rochester Inst Tech). He said last night, "I might just do that, let me get through these 2 yrs first." That kid, what he makes with those things, not to mention his computer/art. I am no longer going to fight it, he has to find what is right for him. All I can do is encourage him and set boundaries/rules and bring him up in the Bible.

    ANYWAYS--sorry for rambling..you encourage your kids to be the best at whatever they choose. Thank you for sharing.. Blessings

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  2. BTW, I think every mother & father goes through this..honestly, I do. Good job Billie Jo & Steve. You done good. Blessings

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  3. Take it from someone much older than you, and that brought up 3 children, you are very very wise parents. All 3 of mine enjoyed different things when young, and all 3 have totally different lives today. I am very proud of all of them, and you are and will be when they are grown also. Love them, encourage them, help when asked and you will have well balanced adults.

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  4. Dear Billie Jo ... keep on doing what you are doing! It seems to be working very well. It is never good to try and keep up with others or to expect our children to do that. For one thing ... it takes up so much precious time. Enjoy each day as it comes and be thankful for each little blessing! The days go by so very quickly ... make the best of each and every one! Hugs to you my sweet friend! ♥ Teri

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  5. Oh, what an awesome post!!! We think the same! My kids are all so different and that is what I love about having children, how God makes them so different.

    My oldest son does not play baseball or football or basketball, he is not competitive at all. He has lots of other qualities too long to mention here. My oldest daughter tried baseball, but it ended up not being a match for us (we got lice from the baseball helmets!! it was a sign!!)

    We let them do piano and one activity, but only one is doing anything extra, that is my unicycler...

    I always feel sorry for the families that are running from sport to sport running on every whim...where's the peace? There's no time for peace.

    PS, I could never do a cartwheel either, I wanted to be a cheerleader and I couldn't be one because I couldn't do a cartwheel. It bothered me then, but now? Who cares!! Like you said, it's been 30 years!!

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  6. Good Morning, What beautiful children; thank you for sharing them with us. I don't have children but I know my older sis and I are as different as can be. I'm thankful that our parents allowed each of us to do what we truly enjoyed.
    Wishing you all a terrific day.

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  7. Isn't that the truth??!! We don't push sports. At. All. To be honest, I could go either way. To love or not to love. But since my husband, who is actually EXTREMELY talented in sports, chooses outdoor sports, i.e. hunting, fishing, boating, etc, well, that's the route we naturally followed. And it works for us. Now Sally is into swim, but she loves it and we never pushed her. The other two girls love their TKD, but one hour a week is not bad at all. They are all so different, aren't they? I love watching them grow and bloom. God is so good!

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  8. Oh goodness Flynn and Brooklyn are exactly alike, she even told me the other day that she was going to be a Princess when she grows up ;) Love that each one of your darling kids has their own special interest and that you recognize that. It's one of my favorite things about being a mommy, seeing what drives my girls and learning who they are meant to be!

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  9. It's all about letting them follow their own interests and holding back as parents when their interests aren't the same as ours...big sigh...

    Sounds like you guys are doing a great job!

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  10. Billie Jo, such a sweet post and encouraging as well. I can not do a cartwheel to save my life. Either I'm just clumsy or perhaps my legs are too long. :-) I think working at DQ is way better than cartwheels!

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  11. I love this post...I love your blog!! Hope your doing well!! Hugs, Billie Jo!

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  12. BEST POST EVER. I am only 21 months into this whole parenting thing but you have summed up my parenting philosophy. And I still can't do a cartwheel.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this post! It's just what I needed to hear. My son is in first grade. He's not very athletic but believe it or not, even in at six years old I feel pressure from other Mom's to sign him up for everything under the sun. We've tried soccer, T-ball, flag football, and basketball (which by the way - only lasted one day). We want him to be happy. All we can do is introduce him to things, and if he takes a liking that's great, and if not that's OK too. Some Mom's have even made me feel bad for not signing my son up for sports. Like we are doing something wrong. It's more important to us to have him be happy and spend time at home doing what he wants to do not forcing him to be someone he's not. Like your son, he's really into movies! He watches his favorites over and over, memorizes the lines, dresses up, and acts them out. I think he may flourish in drama one day - but it will definitely be up to him! Thanks you for your encouraging words. ♥

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  14. Loved this post, Billie Jo :) Your family is so precious and your love for them runs deep - what a blessing!

    Hugs to you, my friend!

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  15. Billie Jo, I love this post! I agree with you...it is okay if our kids follow their own path...we learned that early because my son is not interested in team sports and my girl would rather be climbing trees that taking dance lessons. She did give dancing a whirl...but only a short time and I had to remember that even though I loved dancing and the glittery costumes, that was my love, not hers. She is into drama and chorus. God has a plan for all of these precious children!
    I hope you are doing well. I still pray for you daily...hoping you are doing well and finding lots of joy in life even as you miss your dad. You are such a sunbeam to all of us.

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  16. so so true my friend!!!:) it's really exciting watching them become who they were meant to be. don't you wish you could talk to all those "young" mama's out there who stress waaaaay too much!!:)
    perfectly put advice!
    have a happy day billie jo

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  17. Love this! It's so important for parents to realize this. I just watched a documentary for school where stories of kids were shared who had been pushed to do extra-curriculars that their parents wanted them to but they themselves did not and it showed how miserable they were. It's so much better for kids to do what they truly love.
    Loved this post. And Peyton sounds like a girl after my own heart! The things of home are such a joy.

    Thank you also for your sweet comment! I just read it. I'm so thankful to have found your blog and met you!

    Blessings,
    Jazzmin

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  18. Lovely, Billie Jo. We live in an extremely competitive, fast paced world and sometimes I worry that we aren't doing enough, that our kids are involved enough, that we haven't pushed them hard enough. But every single day, I am grateful that we don't have a million after school activities and that we can have dinner together as a family. And surprisingly, even though the kids missed out on soccer at four years old, and cheer and dance, they have found hobbies and interests that they love. Thank you for the reminder that we don't have to "keep up" with anyone else and that a quiet, slower pace is a very good thing. <3

    Oh, and that adorable Flynn...I love that ALL of her Barbies have tiaras.

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  19. Another wonderful and encouraging post. Excellent! We are right along with you and haven't pushed our kids to do the sports thing because honestly there just wasn't a desire. Thank you for reminding me to encourage what they do enjoy or to find what they enjoy doing. Jonah is not into sports (my hubby isn't either and doesn't even watch a single game. ever.) and we're still working on finding his exact sweet spot in the world. He is so creative, imaginative and artsy, but he hasn't found exactly where he fits. He has fallen in love with Legos this past year and now this school year we found a Lego Club online that he can attend a meeting with a teacher, a theme for the month and interact (through the computer) with other kids who love what he loves. It's the hardest though when they know they aren't 'like the other kids' and don't want to feel so left out. We try to just keep encouraging and keep following their lead and not pushing them. Now Lily has taken Irish step dance classes and is really enjoying them. It helps that she has friends in the class, the class is taught by two teen (Catholic) young ladies and they encourage as well as push her harder in the class.

    It is so fun to watch the kids blossom and find their place that makes them happy. It's sometimes the growing through it that's the toughest.

    Thanks again for the great post!

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  20. Okay Billie Jo... can you hear me???? I'm standing up and applauding you... really, really, really loud!!!! Because you're right; sooooo right! ~ It seems it's something every year. This winter it was "you're not going to sign Anna up for skating lessons? Don't you want her to have that?" NOooooo I don't want to drive her there and stand in a frozen rink. I want her home on Saturday mornings playing with her little sister... getting lost in their play world. And on and on it goes... there's something every single year. Anna picked viola and we started Abigail on it too. But who knows for Abigail. She may quit and I don't care. While Anna finds peace and comfort with her viola on her shoulder Abigail may not and she should be allowed to either choose her own thing or nothing. ~ You have a wonderful perspective friend. Where were you when I brought Anna home from China almost ten years ago... man I needed a friend like you!!!! xoxoxo

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Billie Jo