One of my many flaws is that I love my sleep. I loooooooove my sleep. A definite night owl that will sleep in as long as you’ll let me. So, it was with heavy eyelids that I got up at 4:15 this morning to head to the university be a part of an attempt to break a Guinness World Record in the name of school spirit. One of the greatest factors of how well students like their university (and want to stay there until graduation) is how connected they are to many facets of that university—friends; student organizations; faculty and staff; administration; athletics and recreation; and many others. In order to model the behaviors we want to see in our students, sometimes we need to get up way too early. Plus, at today’s event, everyone gets a free orange t-shirt; and who doesn’t love a free orange t-shirt? Especially when I can wear it later on to possibly bring out a question or two from my future advisees.
In my opinion, the same applies to the way we want to parent. We do things we don’t necessarily want to do in order to model the behaviors we want in our children.
Do I want to kiss the bear good night? No. No, I do not. But if I kiss the bear, I show her I care about the things she cares about. It shows her that I have a healthy imagination too. When she can trust me to care about a bear now, maybe she can trust me to care about something she’s a little uncomfortable to talk about later.
Do I want to have a tea party? No. No, I do not. But I want to connect with my daughter. I want to encourage her when she wants to host the party—that involves thinking of others, planning, setting up, entertaining, and cleaning up (that last one with a bit more prompting than the others). It doesn’t matter that my cup only has water in it. It matters that she wants me there now. If I show up, I’m banking on it increasing the odds that she’ll want me around later.
Do I want to watch youth soccer? No. No, I do not. But I want her to grow her competitive spirit. I want her to win with grace, and I want her to lose with grace. If she learns both now, she will be better prepared when she wins and loses in the future, because both will come. And I will cheer her on then like I cheer her on now.
Do I want her to date in the future? No. No I do not. There’s nothing extra with this one! Another one of my many flaws.
The point is, we all need to do things we don’t want to do for the sake of our children. And our marriages. And our friendships. And our teams. And our schools. But we gain so much more than we give up. So, sign me up for more. You can find me at the tea parties, the soccer matches, and the school events. I’ll be the one in the orange t-shirt.