In so many ways, we give our kids the impression that they're not fully people; they're people in training. But do you remember being a kid? Did you feel like an actually-fledged human being?
I think we do this with really good intentions. We know our time with our kids is limited, and we want to "prepare" them to release them out into the world as responsible, equipped adults.
However, I'm afraid this often leads to our making long-sighted parenting choices when short-sighted ones would actually be better. For instance: If my kid's room is a mess, maybe it's just that they don't have the energy to clean it this moment, or even today... and it doesn't have to mean that OMG, they're going to grow up without any self-discipline and their house will be overtaken by roaches, and they'll get evicted and therefore I'm turning off the wifi until the room is clean, dang it.
Kids see this. So much that they know, as they get older, that even their education isn't important in this moment. Otherwise, why would they ask, infamously about algebra, "When am I ever going to use this in the future?"
How often has a kid, discouraged with an extra-curricular lesson or activity, been encouraged to keep going because, "Someday you'll wish you'd mastered *this* so you can do *this other thing.*"
Do you know when I've learned the things I've needed to know as an adult, for the most part? Exactly when I needed to know them.
This might surprise you, but I never learned a darn thing about real estate until I had to "learn" it to take a test. And even then, I didn't *actually* learn it until I was working in the field. Same with insurance. And video production. And script-writing. And parenting. Yeah, pretty much all of it.
And I have a theory about why family vacations are so much fun for our kids (other than the splurging in terms of fun and money throwing-around and whatnot): When we're on vacation, we are in the moment with them. We're not planning for the next thing. We're enjoying the thing we're doing right then and right there.
What if we lived like that all of the time? Or most of the time? Or at least some of the time?
Maybe our kids would be more content being children if we let them know they're important *now.* They can do things in this day that have value. We don't always have to be projecting them into the future.
Nichole Nordeman tells a story of how she had volunteered to play a song at one of her kids' school events, and as the day approached, she hadn't prepared anything. Then this following song came to her. And although the song is directed toward the children, she said that, of course, the encouragement to "slow down" is actually for the parents. I'm trying.