A few weeks ago our daughter’s gymnastics coach approached us about home schooling our daughter. Up until recently, our daughter trained five nights a week, four hours per day, plus attended school. We struggled with her academic demands while doing our best to get her to daily practices and competitions.
The truth is that it was hard. The other truth is that when we got her into a “recreational” sport, never did we think her hobby would become such a priority not just in her life, but in our lives as well. Since pre-k, we’ve followed a playbook for her education: enroll her in the right preschool, have her reading before kindergarten, enroll her in the most competitive elementary school, make sure she knows her times tables before 3rd grade, provide a well-balanced extra-curricular life, and last but not least, instill in her an understanding that her education trumps everything else. Everything.
She went along with it, but then it became clear she was not a robot. She (and her siblings) began to have dislikes and opinions — you know, unwittingly I assumed children arrived with a tabula rasa. I hadn’t factored things like human nature. I thought I could program them.
So here we are, our best laid plans astray, and my hard limit, “education,” is now at par with her “extra-curricular” activity. And you know what, she’s ok. While this is not the path I would have chosen for her, the truth is that this choice was made despite of us. She made this choice.
And isn’t that what a parent is supposed to do? Support a child in all endeavors? Doing it my way, keeping her in a traditional school with an arduous training schedule would have eventually burned her out. She’s happy. She’s learning. She’s progressing.
This is way outside my comfort zone, but this isn’t about me or my plans for her, for them, it never was. It’s about her dreams, their dreams.
And parents, what’s our role? We’re the dream makers.