You don't really want me to recap this weekend. Not really. Do you ever? Yawn. It was, as my mom would call it, a weekend that required a lot of management. I think I mentioned a little bit back that we were finally watching Downton Abbey (much like Erin, we're slow to muster to these things), and at one point the Dowager Countess, Lady Violet describes parenting perfectly, "There is just such an on and on-ness to it." As I told my mom this story during my most recent cry for help on Friday, she said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, honey. But it's true."
I've been thinking a lot about raising kids lately. I mean, duh. When am I not thinking about it, right? It just seems that my various feeds, from Facebook to Twitter to whathaveyou, are full of sage articles about all the things that are going wrong with kids these days. (Ha! I actually said that, "Kids these days!") They don't do enough chores. They do too much homework. Too little is expected of them. They're pushed to read too soon. They aren't keeping up with their peers in other countries. They're too involved in electronics. They need to get outside more. Good lord, we're rough on them, aren't we?
All eyes on them, it's hard to be a kid. I hope as parents that Neel and I manage to mostly find that precious balance between expectation and support. Sometimes the way you support your child is by taking the long view, and that can mean being tough in rough times. It's hard. Sometimes you support your child simply by supporting them. Sometimes they need only to know that you have their back.
As I said, it was a weekend in management. It's been Cal's hard work, and we're almost through it. He's a trooper, and he's definitely risen to the occasion. Neel and I've had some managing to do ourselves, and we still do. But after seeing how my son felt shamed instead of supported, after seeing how he felt hurt and criticized instead of heard, I had a bit of an epiphany. And I wondered, how does this help? I want to say (and I may yet!), "When you sent that email (and copied four other people on it), did you stop and wonder, 'how will this help him?'"
So that got me to thinking. I need to operate in this fashion more often. Asking myself before I speak or hit send (and this rings especially true in my parenting), "How is this helpful? How will this help?"
It kind of changed my life.