Tuesday, July 16, 2013

process over product

It is easy to get stressed out as a parent. Usually tangled in that stress is the comparison game. It serves no one well, especially the children we compare.

I have been blessed that both of my boys have been fans of books/reading.  We spend a lot of time together with books, and at nap/rest time they each have books in bed with them.  Letters and pictures and music - these are things that go well for us.  The motor skills have been a struggle - partly because of physical/developmental issues for both of my children, and partly because it is something I struggle with myself.  I half-jokingly put on Facebook the other day that I would teach someone's child to read if they would teach mine to swim or pedal a bike.

I can say I don't compare my kids, but I sometimes I do. I think it is an intrinsic struggle for most of us. For me it isn't so much about what my kids are (not) doing, but really about how I (feel) I am failing them as a mother. Isn't that ridiculous? My responsibility is to love them and care for them, to guide them and to teach them - not to turn them into something they are not.

I realized I still struggle with comparison the other day when I was working on a simple art project with the boys.  Bugaboo obviously needs more support with the activity, but I was giving Bubby step by step directions on how to put together a letter B bear. I can say that I want creative, think-outside of the box kids, but the moment Bubby wanted to pick big googly eyes instead of the recommended smaller eyes, I unsuccessfully tried to redirect his choice. He liked the big eyes - why did that matter to me? Then after drawing on the mouth, he wanted to add feet to the bear (even though that wasn't on the sample). He added stick feet and then some other markings all over the bear.

I questioned, "Why did you do that?"  His response, "I wanted to draw it."Thankfully, I stopped there to prevent further crushing my child.

I was more worried about how the project would look yesterday than his enjoyment and expression with the project. I was missing the point. I was turning into a craft-control-mom that I never want to be.

I will hang that bear project on the fridge for awhile, and I hope that it will remind me that the process is usually more important than the product.  The child is always more important than the image I want to project.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Amanda
    We all do this at times, dear one! I recall the time when my husband and I did most of the work on one if our sons' school projects. We were quite chaffed with ourselves. When it came home, all marked and everything, we only got 67% for the assignment. Needless to say; we learned our lesson.
    Much love XX


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