I have tried to come up with a catchy introduction phrase to this blogpost forever but the more I write the crazier it gets. I only wanted to recommend two podcast episodes to you that I listened to just recently. They both talk about kids. I don't know how you raise your kids, but I struggle the most with raising our firstborn son. Not because of him (turns out he is actually the "easiest" of them), but because we practice our parenting skills on him. There is always trial and error, expectations set too high, rules too strict and rules too loose involved. And every time when we think, we found our groove and everything goes smoothly, the child matures some more and everything is out of order. Again. It is like trying a computer game for the first time and the moment you think you finally got it, you get to the next level and you start all over ...
This year our next level is middle school. The difficulty level is high because Micha and I both have grown up in another country, in a totally different educational system. So middle school is not only new to our son, but also new to us. I was very happy when I stumbled upon this episode from "This American Life" that centers all around middle school. It tells and reminds us of the struggle most middle schoolers go through - finding their place in society and the world and physically and emotionally growing their bodies and minds to become an adult. If you have a middle school child - please take the time to listen to this episode: This American Life -#449 Middle School.
Every night, I get an email from my son's middle school showing his grades. In most subjects, everything he does, gets graded: every assignment, every homework, every paper he produces in class. His grades are always changing. He is a good student, but it is so tempting to define this child only by his grades. To ask: "Will I be surprised, when I look at your grades tonight?" Or: "Why did you forget to put your name on an assignments twice? Are you crazy, your grade is going to drop?" And yes, I have asked these questions, and I assume, I will ask them in the future. It is hard to let go of habits and it is very convenient to intervene at an early stage, isn't it?
Last night, I watched Julie Lythcott-Haims's TED talk on "How to raise successful kids without over-parenting". She delivered a powerful speech about what really matters for our kids. And it was a great reminder that we all should give ourselves from time to time. What our kids need most from us is our unconditional love and a tool set to master their lives by themselves instead of mapping it out for them. If you have 15 minutes, please let her convince you. Julie Lythcott-Haims: "How to raise successful kids without over-parenting".