Monday, August 13, 2012

Does the perfect family exist?

We have just over 20 days left until school starts up again for the 2012-2013 year.  The emotions in our house have started to escalate and the nerves seemed to arrive once we said "school supplies".

I had a great conversation with Sid the other day which I am pretty sure was because all these emotions and nerves started to emerge again.  We had sadness, tears and luckily laughter towards the end.

Without exposing specific families or friends that Sid has this is just the general theme of what our conversation was about:

  • a friend that she wants to be friends with because no one else is there for this girl.
  • this "friend" (and I use that term loosely) has been moved many times.
  • this girl has had many different schools and friends are hard to find.
  • this child is at the school from 7:30am (or earlier) until 5:00pm or later.
  • church is not something that this family fact, this family is hardly together to do anything as a group
The end of our conversation was something like this:
"Mom, my friend doesn't ever get to be with her mom or dad.  Her dad works out of town and is gone for weeks at a time.  My friend has a lot of situations (which she later explained as...) liked having to go to SACC (school age child care) and she just doesn't have a lot of people in her life for her.  I want to be a friend to her because no one else is."

Let's just say that after this conversation I was glad that I am home with the kids.  I am working, but I am home.  I may not be with them all day during the school year BUT I am at the door watching for them when they come off the bus, I am here if they have to stay home because they don't feel good and I am here the majority of the evenings.  This year I also get to help with the group that Sid is part of in AHG and I am thrilled to be doing that with her and be part of that group.  

We finished our conversation by making some rules and goals for this friendship.  To put it simply, I don't care for this friendship.  It really isn't a positive relationship for Sid.  But, if Sid wants to try to be a positive person for this "friend" I honestly can't stop her unless I pull her out of school and homeschool.  (that's not happening) Our family stresses that we need to be helping a friend to others because that is what God wants us to do.  I can't stop her from doing what we have been telling her these last 11 years.  If I don't let Sid figure out these things on her own now and stop interjecting in every possible situation that she is going to have she won't grow up with the tools that she needs to make it in this world as an adult (let's not even go to high school right now).  

Would this little girl have such a hard time at school if she had a more consistent family life?
Would there be more of a positive relationship with this "friend" if this child had more positive relationships in her own life?
What do I need to be showing and telling Sid (and keeping tabs on) in order to make sure that she stays positive as she handles this friendship throughout the year?
...tough questions for a mom and a 10 year old.

We are seeing a lot of families that are close to us that are making some tough decisions in their lives.  Some of these decisions that are being made do impact our family in some way, others though I just see as making a huge impact in the child's life as they are learning what is important and what isn't.  I can see the full picture of what is going to happen with these kids...but how do you tell a friend that the choice they are making may not truly be the best for their child?  Every family has different priorities, I understand that.  Unfortunately we are going to have some kids that will be lacking some parental control or even precious parent/child time if our society continues to put some activities ahead of other important aspects of childhood.  

This article, "Parents why are you pushing your kids", came across Facebook quite a bit ago and really is a great indicator of what I am seeing with families right now.  I hear parents complaining how they have to travel here for this away game, another town for some tournament each weekend and how much everything times I'm not sure why they are doing it if they are complaining so much about the cost and not being home enough.  Unfortunately, those aren't the only costs associated with some extracurricular activities for kids.  Teachers, I am guessing you can figure out what some of those other costs might be.

The idea of a perfect family, that is pretty out there isn't it?  I know that our family is a long way from being perfect but our goal isn't to be perfect.  Our goal is pretty simple: be a family.

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