Our school choices were limited: a public school and two rival private schools. I chose one of the private schools. Eight years and three children in, I began to doubt that I had made the right choice for the younger two. I waffled. Maybe it was the teachers. Maybe it would be better next year. It wasn’t. Finally, I took the action I should have taken years earlier. I transferred my two youngest to the other private school. You would have thought that I had crossed to the dark side. My kids adjusted quickly, but the parents in the new school treated me as a trophy convert. The parents in the old school, where my oldest still attended, thought I had lost my mind.
I was uncomfortable. No matter where I was, I couldn’t avoid the fuss. I wondered how a decision that had seemed so clear had gotten so cloudy. Fortunately, my husband was out of the fray and therefore, unaffected. He would recant our goals for our kids: that, like Jesus, they would grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. If they weren’t growing, we needed to make a change for them and nobody else needed to understand that. To meet each of our children’s unique needs, we have to be confident that we alone may know what is best. We become confident when we answer these four questions.
Is my child growing in wisdom?
There’s a lot of pressure on moms to “maximize” our children’s academic performance. But intellectual growth doesn’t always make a child wise. Our children grow in wisdom as they interact with the people and world around them. Yes, that means less screen time for your kids so their minds can grow and engage. If you need help managing screen time, try our free screen time tracker.
Is my child growing in stature (physically)?
It’s easy to obsess on this one with all the studies on nutrition. Letting your child have French fries doesn’t make you a bad mom. An occasional fast food dinner doesn’t mean your kids aren’t healthy or that you’re not meeting their physical needs. Keep them moving and get them outside into creation and they will get hungry enough to eat well.
Is my child growing spiritually?
When our children mess up, we feel like failures. I’ve been there and I have done all the remorseful analyzing that goes with it. Parenting is about helping our children learn from their mistakes and navigate the consequences so they can learn the foundations of faith—love and forgiveness. So don’t think, Why didn’t I help my child avoid that mistake? Instead, think: How can I help my child learn from this mistake and recover from it? How can their faith grow by working through this challenge?
Is my child growing socially?
When my children were little, I felt like we spent every weekend going from birthday party to birthday party. Add sports practices and games, dance recitals, and sleepovers, and it can feel like our children’s social lives are our lives, too. So don’t think, I can’t let my child miss this party or she’ll feel left out! Instead, think: My child will not be harmed socially if she misses this event. Then, use that time away from social activities to let your child spend time with you and your family.
How do you keep the big picture in mind when you’re feeling like life is chaotic?