Monday, October 27

Are We Setting the Bar Too Low?

I've been thinking about Big Girl's sleepover a bit.  Some people were under the impression that I'd have my hands full - that the girls would kind of take over and be out of control.  There was a pillow fight, but when I firmly said to stay in the back bedroom to have it, they did (without complaint).  And manners were a common thread between the girls.  

Here is a bit of demographics about the seven girls who were there (five guests plus my two girls):

  • Six are homeschooled
  • All seven are Christians - five, Catholic
  • Four play soccer together
  • Big Girl and one other girl are in CCD together
  • Ages were from seven (Little Girl) to eleven
Yes, Little Girl was at the party.  Did I mention that?  Big Girl's friends asked if she would also be letting her sister play with them and be a part of the party.  Naturally, Big Girl said yes.  She is great friends with her sister.  

All of this behavior makes me wonder if society is convincing a great many parents to set the bar too low for their children.  Instead of expecting that they will get along with siblings as they get older, we are told that fifth graders don't/won't play with second graders.  Instead of expecting that their manners will improve as they get closer to young adulthood, parents are told that we are to expect our teen-aged children to be surly and uncooperative.  Instead of expecting our children to increase in faith as they grow in age, we are told that it's only natural for children to discard the faith they are brought up in.  

I think that these attitudes, which have prevailed my entire life, are self-fulfilling.  We cringingly set forth rules of the house, "knowing" that they'll only obey for a time.  We wince as we present the Faith, thinking that once they get to their teen years (not young adult, but teen - think a bit about the difference in connotation there) they will be ready to rebel and discard it.  

Why cringe!?  Why shrink in fear!?

Be not afraid!  If you expect your children to be insolent and uncooperative, they'll live up to it.  But expect that they will remain best of friends, that they will have the best of manners, that they will love and live and grow in the Faith you hand down to them ... well, then they will!  Do not accept society's attitudes that your child will wish to be separate from you, away from you.  

Expect what is right!  Raise the bar!

Then watch your children soar right over it.  

1 comment:

Barb, sfo said...

Part of the problem with "segregation of age" is due to the way school systems organize. In order to avoid accusations of de facto segregation by having neighborhood schools, they set up by age, so that every 2 years or so, the kids go to a different school. This means that they only ever interact with children one age different, on either side--unless they have siblings.

My sister's children were afraid to go to the junior high because they were afraid of the 8th graders. They just hadn't spent time around any 8th graders!

What I love about the Catholic schools my children have attended is that they are K-8 (or pre-K -8). There are many occasions during which grades are paired up as "buddies" for stories, celebrations, or craft time. But even without that, there are plenty of times when they all get to interact--including the school bus.

I think it's healthy for children to be exposed to other children of different ages, and to be expected to get along with them!

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