I recently had a total hip replacement. In good care of my new hip I am faced with my doctor’s good counsel of how much activity is the right amount of activity. In the true spirit of Goldilocks I am not to do too much or too little. There is a balance of activity for me that is just right.
Parents sometimes struggle with this balance of too much and too little when it comes to the activity of their children. Parents can be led to believe that if their children are not doing everything, or much of everything, than their children are missing out on something. Parents can be led to believe that their children must try a little bit of everything to find out what they might be really good at – from voice lessons and violin, soccer and saxophone, skating and skiing and scouting.
There are two diving forces that pressure parents into too much activity. On one hand, parents want to position their children for greatness so that their children have the best of all opportunities. And on the other hand, parents know just how cruel and critical the world can be. Parents then position their children for greatness in hopes of protecting their children from bullies and critical people.
First, your children will not be the best at anything. They won’t. Get over it. Your children are average and just fine the way they are. Second, you will never protect your children from bullies or critics. You won’t. I am sorry.
So, as Good Dads, let us not burden our children with the unfortunate expectations of others -- not well intended grandparents, neighbors, or the people of the church. You are the Dad – and you are a Good Dad. Do not “outsource” your child’s health, confidence, or esteem to anyone other than you.
Ask yourself right now, “What do I most want for my child?” And now ask yourself “Who is the best person to provide these values and opportunities for my child?”
Involve your children in dialogue and choices of what activities that they pursue, and what they will not. Allow your children a voice in the matter and do not shame them when they no longer want to play soccer or the saxophone. It is okay for our children to try new things and it is okay for our children to say when enough is enough.
More important than your child’s activities are the values your children are learning. As a Good Dad, your personal one – on – one time with your children gives you the time to nurture and encourage your children to be the people you most want them to be. In the Spirit of Goldilocks you do not want your children to be too much of this or too much of that. You want them to be just right.
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the Senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.