There was a time where I just figured that my children would be a bit more like me. I mean, I spend the most time with them and thus have the most influence, it only made sense. I naively assumed that they would enjoy the things I enjoy, have the laid back, let’s just hop in the car and go, attitude I have and be super interested in having all things clean and organized. Because, you know, I do!
(This one is a bit like me. Seen organizing the shoe closet. *swoon*)
Let me tell you this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The older my kids get the more I realize they are, without a doubt, their own individual human beings. I know this probably doesn’t come as a shock to you more realistic sort but it truly does to me.
My boys are now 14 (but so close to 15 he can taste it), 12 and 11. And, well, they’re boys, so they are about as opposite to me as you can get.
This is why I decided a long time ago that it takes a village to raise a child. I absolutely can not do it by myself. They operate and learn in ways that I don’t, they are interested in things that I know nothing about and they simply have a different drive than I do. One is encouraged by reward, another by praise and another simply happy with his own progress, no matter what the world thinks. It’s all just a bit much for one mama to have a grasp on, amiright?
(The boy who thinks farming is rad learned how to hang dry garlic. Skillz.)
My youngest boy is a few things I’m not. He’s an overachiever, he’s highly ambitious and he pushes himself to the point of exhaustion.
I, on the other hand, am super fine with being mediocre, feel like I’ll get things done when I can and when the going gets hard, well, I’m totally fine with slowing the sprint to a meander and photographing the flowers along the way.
So how do I keep this boy challenged? How do I give him what he needs in terms of pushing himself when I’m fine to tell him to slow down? How do I help him to achieve his goals when I’m thinking a smoothie break might be better?
I enlist the village.
Over the years we’ve strived to find people who will help pour into our children. I assure you this is a difficult task. For one, we haven’t placed our boys in regular sports programs where they would have a coach pour into them for a few reasons, but most of all because they were never into regular sports. Second of all, it’s difficult because everyone is dang busy! So finding someone who is willing to mentor your child in something (for pay or not!) is hard!
It’s also super important to us that the people who our boys are under the direction of are good citizens of this world. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Well, it could be when your boys just want to skateboard and snowboard and make movies and shoot things. The challenge with ‘alternative’ sports and activities is hard!
(Skate camp by the nicest, most encouraging skater I’ve ever seen)
Thankfully we’ve found a small village over time. We’ve discovered programs and mentors that work for our children. We’ve found arty sorts who will invite a boy to help him on his next video shoot and we’ve found camp leaders who are thrilled to have a boy lead groups beside them and we’ve found skateboarders who are kind and encouraging and push my sweaty headed boy to no end.
We are so grateful for this tribe. We are so thankful when people are willing to take on a child that is not their own and pour into them. We couldn’t feel more blessed by each one.
Our boys learn so much from these people, more than I could ever teach them. They find out that the world doesn’t operate just like Mom and that’s okay. They learn to take direction and guidance from people other than their parents and hopefully they learn the importance of pouring back into others one day too!
Can we all just agree that this raising kids things is hard? And we need each other? And where we have gifts and talents that we can share with the next generation we should?
I think so. My boys know so. They wouldn’t be who they are if the people in our village had said no.