When our middle schooler entered his new school at the beginning of the fourth quarter last year we did a quick tour of the building before he entered his first class. Every person we encountered received the same information. “This is our new coach’s son.” And with that tiny sentence my son lost his chance for anonymity.
He knew after the first week he wasn’t going to avoid the standard questions:
- How’s the team looking?
- Do you think we will win more games next year?
- How do you like living here?
And to his credit, our son answered each to the best of his ability with a smile and little information offered.
A few weeks later his counselor called to update me on his adjustment. She commented on how polite he is and how he seems to be settling in. I was glad her feedback from teachers was positive, but settling in well was not real life at that time. Those emotions were reserved for the time at home.
While some might wonder if it was wise to keep the challenges of adjusting to yet another new school from the counselor, I knew that her function was to focus on class schedules and behavior. I also knew that nothing she would say would quicken the pace of mourning the loss of friends and having to start over again.
A Higher Standard
Tim Elmore recently posted an article titled The New Unwritten Rule for Parents That Hurt’s Everyone. Tim is an authority on Generations Y and Z and his findings are always evidence-based.
His point is that we are harming our children by simply giving them everything they want and setting them up for future failure.
I wasn’t surprised by Elmore’s findings, but I am always grateful when information like this is put into writing. Our kids will never be afforded the opportunity to receive everything they want even if we wanted to give it to them we can’t.
We Won’t Live Separately
Giving our sons everything they want would have meant living in two separate states or leaving our children in someone else’s hands to raise. We dealt with the same emotions with each of our last two moves.
Keeping our family unit together knits us closer together, it models for our sons how we support each other in marriage, and it opens new opportunities for them to grow and mature as well. By not giving our kids what they want, we give them what they actually need.
Kids Change Their Minds
Eventually, our kids have realized their immediate desires were not as great as the change they didn’t want to face. This has been true with moving, trying new classes and activities as well as new routines.
Kids don’t know what they want longterm, and it’s ok to hold them to a higher expectation of embracing what you are asking of them first.
We Can’t Afford It
Coaching at the D3 and NAIA level doesn’t pay well. Additionally, moving is expensive even when the school is footing part of the bill.
If They Want It Bad Enough They Will Buy It
While we may not give our kids everything they want, we do provide opportunities for them to purchase things themselves. It’s not surprising though, that amazing souvenir they “need” isn’t as appealing when their own money is involved.
Gratitude Is Vital
We want our kids to be thankful for the gives they do receive. The best way for this to happen is for them to have an awareness of the sacrifices and work it takes for gifts to be given
Obedience is Necessary
Part of our life in coaching includes understanding God places us in towns where he has called us to serve. How we serve will look different at times, but the call is still the same. Bloom where you are planted by investing.
Obedience is a character trait that develops with time and practice. It is one that all humans share a common dislike and rebellious spirit for in some areas of our lives. But obedience is an expectation of God. We will help our children best when we model obedience for them and expect them to live obediently as well.
Say Yes When You Can
Saying no to every “I want” doesn’t mean your children never get to do anything they desire. Say yes when you can. Say yes when they don’t expect it. Say yes and then lavish more than the yes request called for and do it generously. It’s not always about the no. But it is about the why behind the yes or no.
Doing This Publically
While it may be a great example of drawing the short stick, it’s likely your children will live part of their lives in a fishbowl. They will have unwritten expectations on their lives and it won’t feel fair, but it’s also unavoidable.
By setting the standards sooner rather than later we set our children up for success even in the public’s watchful eye. But there is another side to this. If our kids can’t express themselves in public in all situations they must feel safe to do so in their own home.
Let them mourn losing friends and being the new kid. Let them complain about missing out on something and listen to them as they process their emotions. Help them to see when you’re hurting as well.
A higher standard of living isn’t an awful calling. It is a harder path. But as with most things, the hardest paths are often the most fruitful. Be brave Mama! You’ve got this. It’s ok to say no even when you know a short-term yes will feel good now. It will make the yeses so much more delightful!