Why Watching You Grow Hurts

First Day Send Off

It was a fun Labor Day weekend filled with family, friends, a movie night, dinner guests, and a trip to a historical village with more friends.  It reminded me of this summer.  We each made our bucket lists, even the kids and we did our best to squeeze in all our summer goals, and still kept to our reading lists and math reviews.  Julia and Mark read Lord of the Rings at night with Daddy, and Julia also read Oliver Twist, Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde and the Illiad along with her many other "fun" easy reading books from our library trips.  We went to the beach once a week, the kids did a science camp and two Vacation Bible Schools and a week of Summer Quest camp at Timothy Christian School. We went to our favorite places like the farm, the zoo and Liberty Science Center and Aquarium, while also adding day trips to Cape May and Sesame Place.  It was a great summer.  I think this one will definitely go down in our family history books as one of the bests.  I also think that is why sending them off to school tomorrow hurts.  

It's not because I don't trust my kids, or I don't trust public school, it's just because I throughly enjoy my kids and their company.  And it's also because Julia has been home for almost 9 years... homeschooling had its ups and downs, but she has always been with me, and now it's time for her to spread her wings and fly.  

“There is freedom waiting for you,On the breezes of the sky,And you ask "What if I fall?"Oh but my darling,What if you fly?” ― Erin Hanson

She's very excited and very nervous all at once and it hurts my heart that I can't sit there in the classroom with her.  I want to calm all her fears and answer all her questions and be her best friend, I want to hold her hand, and sit with her at lunch, but moms can't do that at school.  This is her time to shine.  Mark did amazing last year and now Julia has this opportunity and I won't be sad in front of her.  I will not cry tomorrow. (Not during the walk to school anyway)  I will walk them to school tomorrow and smile big for them.  This is going to be great.  It is.  I know it is.  But it hurts.

I feel like a chapter of our family life has closed and part of me is still wondering, did we make the right decision?  We prayed and we believe we did, but did we?  This is the part of parenting I don't like.  The part where you have to just trust and be still and know that He is God and that He is ultimately in control.  I'm not good at this part.  

This is where I just have to completely lay all of my worries and questions down and just completely trust that God has this covered.  

Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Last year, our son Mark was given an amazing teacher, Mrs. Ennis and my prayer this year is that Julia's teacher will be just what she needs to be challenged, to grow, and to be excited to learn.

I think watching our kids grow up hurts so much because we realize that we don't have control over everything they do.  We realize that they will have to fall or fly.  We know that they will make mistakes, that their feelings may be hurt, that other kids might leave them out, that they might be lonely or nervous.  But we at some point have to let them go, even if it is only for 7 hours, it feels like it's going to be an eternity.

"It's funny how watching your kids get older is both the best and the worst thing ever."
 So, here is to the first day of school tomorrow!  I am just as anxious and excited as the kids are.  Our outfits are out, the lunches are packed (love notes and Bible verses are inside), back packs and school supplies are at the door and ready to go...we got this!  I think...


Start Them Young: Job Charts

Learning to be a Responsible

"The price of greatness is responsibility."--Winston Churchill
     I don't know if it is the teacher in me, or the fact that I grew up with week day and Saturday chores, but I completely believe in giving my kids jobs/roles around the house.  We don't call ourselves Team Mac for nothing!  How else do I teach my kids to be responsible?  I know so many other parents who agree with us.  Giving children jobs around the home while they are young is a good thing.  Of course they might not think so, but one day, looking back they will have to agree that learning to work hard is always beneficial.  No one intentionally raises lazy, entitled kids.

"Find joy in everything you choose to do.  Every job, relationship, home...it's your responsibility to love it or change it."  Chuck Palahniuk

    The difficulty with Job Charts and giving your kids responsibilities is being consistent with it.  I get all excited and ready to go every August, and then after a few weeks I find myself doing all the chores myself (because let's face it, sometimes it's just easier to do it yourself) and completely putting the lists aside.  I have found what helps is accountability with your spouse and your kids.  Have a quick family meeting talking about why these new jobs/roles are important and then (for the older kids) give them a list to keep in their room to remind them.  The kids can tape it to the back of their bedroom door or their desk so they don't lose it (with that cool colorful tape they have now!)  Also, start small, give your child 1-2 new jobs per week and once you have a good rhythm going then add another.

"Quit making excuses.  Putting it off.  Complaining about it.  Dreaming about it.  Whining about it.  Crying about it.  Believing you can't.  Worrying if you can.  Waiting until you are older.  Make a plan & just do it." -Nike

  Some jobs/roles I find important to start with first are in the kids bedrooms.  Making their beds in the morning and cleaning up their toys before bedtime should become daily habits.  Then move to the common areas like the kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms.  

We have 4 kids so here are their ages and the jobs they are able to handle.  Sometimes seeing what another kid the same age as your own really helps.  I was recently at a women's conference and the speaker was listing jobs her kids did and it was very convicting to me and eye opening because I had become very slack in this area.

Julia is 8 years old: Makes her bed, cleans the kids bathroom (puts away toothpaste/toothbrushes, replaces toilet paper rolls, wipes down the counter, uses the dust buster to vacuum), Julia also knows how to sort laundry and fold laundry, she clears the dinner table and empties the dishwasher at nighttime, she also watches the kids when I am in the shower or when the kids are in the back yard playing, and she feeds the chickens.

Mark is 7 years old: Makes his bed, collects all the trash from the bins in each room, brings trash to the curb, sets the table, clears the table, sweeps dining room floor, feeds the chickens, and Mark folds the laundry (THE BEST) and puts the laundry on everyone's bed for me.  Mark also watches the babies when I take a shower.

Micah is 3 years old: Learning to make his bed, he puts away his shoes inside the closet, puts dirty clothes in the hamper, puts the napkins and silverware on the dinner table.

Amelia is 2 years old: We sing the clean up song and she puts her toys away, Puts clothes in the washer machine (front loader), she also is going to put cups on the dinner table starting this week

"It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do."--Moliere

  One of the major reasons I am writing the post is to get myself back into the groove of holding my own kids accountable for their responsibilities in the home.  I figure if I am taking the time to write about it, I need to actually do it consistently!  And after writing this I realized how lax I have become with Micah and Amelia.  Julia and Mark were doing so much more at their ages and I really needed to step it up with the little ones!  

Quick Recap:

1. Family Meeting
2. Give 1-2 Age Appropriate Jobs
3. Print a List and tape to the back of their bedroom door
4. Be consistent 
5. Once a rhythm is established add another job

Awesome Responsibility Quotes Link

Age Appropriate Jobs For Kids Link


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