Some Thoughts on the Stealing of My Daughter
Today I read this article from The New York Times. I'd recommend having a kleenex handy if you read it.
It was particularly poignant because of my frustrations with all this "preparing for the future" stuff.
I understand the importance of thinking and preparing for the future and I don't for a moment envy this mother or any others who have no future to prepare for. I only wish that somehow I could harness that "live for the moment and enjoy your children right now" attitude and enjoy it in our lives.
But we can't because our children have to prepare for the future.
I try my hardest not to overschedule my kids' lives. When Elder Oaks gave his "Good, Better and Best" talk in conference, I listened and rejoiced. But I wasn't the only one who needed to hear that talk. Every school teacher needed to hear it and apply it in their classrooms, as well.
We've been really blessed with smart kids. Smarter than we are and smarter than we deserved. All of our kids (especially the older ones to whom this applies more) realize that college is expensive and that good grades will lead to money which will lead to college. So they work hard in order to have that blessing.
But that hard work isn't just accomplished in school. Much of it is accomplished at home. And that load of work that is done at home is sometimes too heavy to carry.
Too often, I think homework is given because teachers think they're SUPPOSED to give homework. Some of the homework my kids bring home seems to have little to do with actually improving skills and learning. Much of it is busy work, meant to teach kids responsibility. I'd contend that I, their mother, can teach them responsibility better than a teacher who's trying to teach a couple hundred students responsibility. I can teach them to work. I can teach them to serve. I can teach them that there's joy in resting after a job is done well. I can teach them about values and character and love. But I can only do these things if they have time in their busy schedules for us to BE TOGETHER.
Unfortunately, there's not enough time in the day for me to talk to my daughters while we fold clothes or cook dinner or go grocery shopping together. This time together is why I love summer so much and dread the start of the school year.
In order to succeed in the future (get the grades to get the scholarships) they have to be dedicated to school work. Hours and hours of it. Veronica got home at 2:30 today and with the exception of about 45 minutes, did homework until nearly 10:30. I'd understand this if it were isolated to the occasional big project, or if she were a procrastinator, but unfortunately, this evening is repeated far too often.
Please tell me how she's supposed to keep up with the homework so she can keep her good grades, have time to work a few hours every week, practice piano, read something for pleasure, have a modest social life, fulfill church obligations, shower, do her personal progress, and still find time to sleep.
IT'S TOO MUCH!
I want to say, "FORGET IT. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. JUST DO WHAT YOU WANT FOR AWHILE AND EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT." But if her goal is college, forgetting it won't make it work out.
I sat down with her a few weeks ago because she had so much she was trying to fit into her life. We made her a schedule so she could get through each day without being overwhelmed. It included things like scholarship research, study for the ACT, finish Personal Progress, Read Scriptures, apply to colleges, practice piano, work at Great Harvest, go to the temple, write to Grandma and her brother who's on his mission, clean her room, and several more things. And all of these were in addition to the regular homework given out every, single day in her classes.
She's a senior. I'm down to less than a year of her still being my girl and living with us. And we're being robbed of this time.
I'd like her to have time to breathe, to play, to read something besides assignments, to attend her brother's basketball game, to spend an evening gabbing and painting nails with a friend, to spend time with her family, to go to a Young Women's activity without having to worry about the homework that isn't getting done.
I either want much less homework or more hours in the day.
Life should include some living, not just homework.