As I dropped my daughter off at yet another practice, I found myself questioning again—is it too much? On the one hand, parents today are told they over-schedule their kids and shouldn’t keep them so busy. But then, on the other hand, we’re told parents today leave their kids in front of screens way too much.
It really feels like our choices are screens or overscheduling, and with either choice, we’re somehow wrong.
But whether it’s one too many sports, one too many honors-level classes, or sticking with an instrument or interest as they head to high school, there’s a lesson to be taught in establishing boundaries and our self-value.
Whether it’s our kids or ourselves, I fear we are too caught up in the idea of more.
More activities, more higher-level classes, more money, more projects, more, more, more, and I am just as guilty as the kid staring back at me for thinking I can handle just a little more when maybe I need to start practicing and showing her the power of no more.
No more thinking we have to do more in order to be seen as more than enough. No more putting their sense of value in the final results of a grade, a game, or a performance.
How many of us are modeling pushing ourselves to the breaking point in the pursuit of more?
How many of our kids are doing the same thing and then we’re left wondering why they’re mentally maxed out?
Instead, maybe, it’s time for us as parents to remember to teach them to see their value not in final results but in what they gave despite the results.
Because mistakes will occur, losses will happen, failures will result at times, but winning, getting As, and excelling in any given moment aren’t where they should find their value or sense of self-worth . . . and neither should we as their parents.
Their greatest sense of self-value shouldn’t come in winning the game or getting the A but in knowing they learned to push themselves and to overcome when challenged. The win and the A will be just a moment in time, but the value of the game or the class is in the growth of their character that will withstand the challenges of the times ahead.
They will find their value in knowing they had to dig a little deeper to find the success they wanted.
They’ll see, failure or not, trying was the victory.
When they have to make choices against what others want, they will begin to see what to value and what to place their time and energy into, and when to say no more.
In order for our kids to reach their greatest potential, they will have to fail and lose. Otherwise, they can’t learn to rise against their struggles and challenges. Our victories aren’t won at the finish line; they are won in the moments we showed up when we wanted to give up.
So don’t forget to cheer them on those moments too, because the character and the mental wins are the biggest victories in the long run.