Good morning everyone! Today, I wanted to share something I’ve just realized about my parenting and homeschooling style. Hopefully, this will be of some help to some of you out there as well.
Yesterday, Jay and I took the kids to the library. If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, then you already know how much we love visiting our local library. We probably go at least every couple of weeks and, now that the boys are learning to read, we’re getting more books than ever before.
The last time we went, Jay made a comment about how Tigger needed to learn how to find her own books and how to speak with the librarian for assistance. Before he said that, I had honestly never thought about it. (Mind you – I went to public school during the elementary years and I visited my school library every day. I still didn’t think about the importance of learning those skills, though.)
So, when we went yesterday, I took Tigger aside and showed her how to use the library’s online catalog to find her favorite book series and authors. Then we walked down the aisles and we practiced finding the authors by last name. She had a lot of trouble focusing on what I asked her to do, though, because she had never done it before. My almost nine-year-old was unable to locate a book in the children’s section using alphabetical order. Why? Because I’ve always found books for her and then handed them to her to read after we got home. I don’t think of myself as a helicopter parent, so why was I so accustomed to performing this simple task for her?
And that’s when I had a realization…..
Being Preoccupied Can Have the Same Negative Effect as Being Overprotective
I’ve taken Tigger, Roo, and Pooh to the library more times than I can count over the years. Why hadn’t I taught them how to find their own books, look for their favorite authors, or talk to the children’s librarian? I was too busy. Too busy keeping everyone quiet. Too busy keeping everyone where I could see them. And even worse, too busy trying to select the books that I felt they needed to read, rather than exploring the joy of reading together.
By insisting on following a specific household routine or by focusing too intently on getting “everything done”, I’ve been unconsciously handicapping my children. I’ve been holding onto my comfortable ways of doing things, and in the process, holding onto their hands for far too long. Tigger will be approaching her pre-teen years before I know it and it’s entirely possible that I’ve been so lost in the daily details of parenting, working, and running a household that I could leave her unprepared for that part of her life.
So, I’m learning how to let go…of my old habits, my old ways of thinking, and my obsession over the daily to-do lists. After all, the Bible clearly says, “Never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties.” (Matthew 6:34) Instead, I’m going to focus on mindful parenting that will help me prepare my children for their futures. This way, when it’s time to let go of their hands completely, they’ll be strong enough to fly on their own.
Are any of you struggling with preoccupied parenting? How have you broken out of this mindset and become a more purposeful parent? Let us know in the comments! Keep on learning!