Friday, November 4, 2011

Education and Everything Else

Having said that, education can't be the number one priority all the time.

There are times when I've been the polar opposite of a Tiger Mom, and have let it slide when the girls don't get their homework done.

On Back to School Night (which also happened to be her birthday), Riley still had one assignment to complete, but I let her go to bed anyway. I thought about what would most likely happen if I tried to push her to finish it. She was already cranky and tired; it would've just been a battle and in that state, she can't do her best work. Sure enough, she figured out when to get it done the next day, when she was refreshed and alert, and it all worked out just fine.

I've also stopped being the homework enforcer almost entirely with Sylvia. While I still make sure she has quiet space and limit other distractions, unless she asks for my help, I don't get involved much more than that. I know that there have been times where she's turned in homework late, and the natural consequences of a lower grade are enough. These are not my grades, after all, but hers. She's in high school now, and her education is her responsibility.

In addition to education, it's almost my job to prepare them for the rest of their lives. We talk about money often, and they're welcome to look at my budget spreadsheets anytime. (So far, only Riley has taken advantage of that.) I've told Sylvia that watching every episode of Suze Orman her senior year will be a requirement. (That's not to say that Suze's a god or anything, but her program offers a variety of topics that can be used as a starting point for more in-depth financial discussions.)

It's also a family effort to balance school and work with everything else in our daily lives. They recognize as much as I do when our schedule has gotten out of control, and share in my goal of attempting to keep Sundays drive-free days. They have a few household duties, and little by little, we add more. Getting together with family and friends is also a priority. Of course, there are always movies or events we miss, but we talk about why it was probably best that we did.

Riley in particular talks about which things are "more important." Sometimes, we disagree. They know I'll usually hear them out, but they also know that I always maintain my veto power.

Education is important. But it isn't everything.

1 comment:

BigLittleWolf said...

This is always a fine line to walk, April, especially as they get older and schoolwork becomes more important to their futures, depending on what they want in the future.

Or, perhaps better put, the nature of the options they want.

I was, in many respects, that "tiger mom," yet in others, the polar opposite. I insisted my kids not indulge in every interest or extracurricular, and that they learn to accept that everything cannot be a priority. From time to time, that means schoolwork, because the priority is being a kid - socializing, partying, eating, watching TV, facebooking, sleeping.

I think we navigate by feel - even more so in the teenage years. I think it's the best we've got. Then again, I sense you already know that.