Monday, October 26, 2009

Balance and Moderation

I am relieved to have both parent/teacher conferences over with for this fall. I mean, I don't really 'dread' them, in fact up until this year I absolutely looked forward to them! I guess what I'm trying to say, is that Jessalyn and Ethan are two very different kids! We have had it easy with Jessalyn as far as her schooling goes. Anyone who knows Jessalyn knows that, since birth, she has been a very driven and independent girl. When she has her mind set one something, she will get it done (sometimes to a fault).

Ethan, on the other hand, will avoid having to work at anything if he possibly can! Don't get me wrong, Ethan is a great kid...he's funny, he's smart, he's cute :) but he tends to have trouble focusing especially when it is something that doesn't come completely natural to him (like video games!). I admit that I was a tad bit nervous about his conference at school.

As it turns out, his conference (last week) turned out GREAT. His teacher thinks he's a great kid too and is ahead of schedule on the reading end and seems to be doing well overall. He, of course, does tend to need re-focusing quite often..but I think this is normal for his age (or any age!). I walked out of that conference very proud of Ethan! He has new goals of getting to higher and higher reading levels and working on his writing too. He seems willing to work towards these goals.

Today was Jessalyn's conference. I was not surprised by her conference. Every year (or really, ever DAY) she gives us more and more reason to be proud of her. We are fully aware of her and her potential but it is nice to see it confirmed by her teachers (I say 'teachers' because she has three in a co-teach classroom). She is, as usual, thriving in school. I am trying to eat it up now and prepare for the day when this starts to change...while at the same time praying that we can continue to encourage her in the direction that she is moving now. She is described as a leader and fun and competitive (not sure where that comes from..tee hee)..and also described as being a "kid" as well.

I guess that is where the whole "balance and moderation" part comes in. I find this a challenge in parenting my four kids. In Jessalyn's case, we know what she is capable of and we know what she expects from herself as well. We try to encourage her and 'push' her to work hard both in academics and character. She tends to be naturally responsible which could potentially lead us to lean on that responsibility more than we should. At the very same time, because she shows her trustworthiness in responsibility we feel like we should give her practice with that and continue to develop it as well. Its a total balancing act. We want her to be a 9 year old... we certainly DON'T want her to be a teenager YET!

All the while, we have Ethan. It is hard not to compare one sibling to the next. Things that come easy for Jessalyn don't tend to come as easily to Ethan, but at the same time, sometimes we question whether its just a mindset for Ethan. The more and more we see Ethan mature (and I use the word "mature" lightly) we are learning that he is proving to be equally as capable as Jessalyn...he just has less of a desire to work at things. This, I suppose, is totally normal. We don't expect Ethan to be Jessalyn because he's Ethan! We are slowing learning that we probably should expect more out of Ethan...for our sake AND his. We are seeing a change in him as he realizes what he's capable of and he does seem to enjoy it.

With four kids this balancing act of moderation is key..I think. It could be really easy for us as parents to become "off balance" in trying to balance and moderate for our kids. Does that even make any sense? What I'm trying to say is that, in the whole act of trying to help encourage but not exasperate our kids WE as parents need to keep that idea in balance as well. In other words, ultimately, I try not to stress about it! We try to encourage and model the idea of working hard to our kids without become extreme about it..and that itself is hard!

"Let your reasonableness be known to everyone" ~ Phil 4:5
"Fathers, do not provoke you children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" ~ Ephesians 6:4
"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." ~ Phil 4:8

An example of Jessalyn doing what she does best...

She gets up and decides that she will start making pancakes..I didn't supervise her measuring or recipe (the mix that requires milk, oil, eggs...) following at all. I, of course, supervised and assisted in the pouring and flipping though.

Then helping her littlest brother get in on the fun...

And the best part is when she cleaned up after her efforts!

I think she's pretty cool!


Kann said...

I agree all around!