Saturday, March 22, 2014

{No More Perfect Kids}
Uniqueness Balances Expectations

This week we're hearing real-life stories from dads. Letting go of perfection is a message from which everyone in your family can benefit. "No More Perfect Kids" by Jill Savage and Kathy Koch has been a fabulous resource for me. You can buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors.

Today's post is courtesy James Allen, who grew up in the same Oldham County schools as me. I'm thankful Facebook lets me keep up with friends like James. His life truly revolves around kids as a father to two and educator to many. 

First, thank you, Kristin, for letting me add my thoughts to this conversation. It really helps to get ideas from you and other parents on how to survive this adventure. We all want the best for our kids and it really helps to know we have friends near and far to turn to when we need some advice and encouragement.

I have two boys. Davis is 6 and Jamesson is 3. My confession: I do worry every day if I’m doing everything I should be as a parent. Is this normal? I think it is to an extent, especially under the microscope of our current society and media, which dictate, analyze, and critique every aspect of our parenting.

Do we read enough? Do I let them play enough? Should I expect them to pick up their toys? Is their diet healthy? Should I be spending more time with them? Am I being selfish with my own time? Am I too easy on them? Am I too hard on them?

I swear I ask myself some or all of these questions multiple times a day, but …

I try not to let these questions rule or ruin my time with my family, even though that's difficult. Sometimes the balance is there, but other times I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing and wonder who ever thought it would be a good idea to make me a dad? My near-constant inner voice continues, but I do my best to enjoy little moments without judgment or criticism.

Although I was fortunate enough as a child to have two parents who loved and took care of me, I do think about the things that I wish had been a little different as I grew up. I think all the time about what I would want to be the same for my boys growing up and what I think should be different. This constant tug-of-war and balancing act can be more than a little stressful.

Being a teacher and being married to a teacher is a real blessing. Sarah and I have worked with thousands of kids and we have a real appreciation of the FACT all kids are not all the same. Knowing how unique kids can be, even in our own tiny community, helps me put in perspective the expectations I have for Davis and Jamesson. They will grow up to be the people they are going to be, both with my help, and in spite of it. My experience in education really helps make that idea easier to handle.

James Allen is a librarian and school technology coordinator at Oldham County High School in his 13th year of teaching. He enjoys time with his family, practicing photography, and making music.

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