We’re in a hurry. As an entire culture, we are consumed with how we can make things go faster.
From technology to, and here’s the pitiful part, our children, we are desperate to rush the normal cycle of life. Faster. Everything needs to be faster and sooner.
My friend and I were just having an over-the-computer conversation about this very topic. It all started with a school discussion, but it is something I have been thinking about for months.
Actually, I have been thinking about it ever since my daughter decided to potty-train herself this summer. She was 2 1/2, so most people would consider that fairly normal. Not early, not late. But here’s the deal, I didn’t decide to potty-train her then.
In fact, I was happy to let it go a few more months. But she was ready. So, you know, even if it seems inconvenient you just go with it. And the whole thing was so painless, and almost entirely accident free, that it still sometimes surprises me that she is potty trained.
But this post isn’t about potty-training. It’s about being patient.
Is your two-year-old saying his alphabet? Counting to 10? Does he know his numbers and shapes?
Have you started your 4-year-old in soccer or T-ball? Has she been introduced to ballet, gymnastics, and music lessons? And…is he reading yet?
Are you feeling some pressure, Moms? Are you sensing that maybe your child should be doing more than he is? Should you be insisting on practicing how to write numbers when all she wants to do is play dress-up? Are you feeling the pressure from society to hurry him up?
Are you having a difficult time waiting for your child to mature at his own rate and in his own individual way? Are you impatient with the normal cycle of life?
I understand the pressure. I really do get it. I’m right there with you. None of us wants to be the negligent mother that has failed to teach our children their ABC’s.
Many a wise older mother told me that when it came to potty training just wait until the child is ready. When she’s ready, she’ll do it. You’ve heard it before, “They won’t go to college in diapers!” And you know what? They were right.
I fight this tendency to rush my children along, but one thing I have learned is that waiting is usually better.
When you start something too early, before the child is physically, emotionally, or intellectually mature enough to handle it, you will eventually teach him what you want him to know. But it will be a long process. It will be slow work. And there will probably be some frustrating tears in the process.
When you wait until it happens more naturally, it takes less time and is much less frustrating. For both you and the child. Learning to read at four might be a slow, day to day laborious process, but at six it might take just a few weeks. Potty training at two might be a long several-month stressful season, but at three (or older) it might be done in a week.
Each child is unique. Your child might successfully read at a very early age and it wasn’t stressful. Another child might do better waiting. Your child might be counting like a pro at two, but not be ready to potty train until 3 1/2. You might be dying to do “school” activities with your child, and all she wants to do is dump the jar of beans that she is supposed to be politely counting.
It’s okay. It isn’t a lack of intelligence. It does not mean she will always hate learning. She is not destined to a life of ignorance. Just put the bean jar away. Pull it back out in a month. Or a year. When she is ready you will learn more in a day than you could have previously learned in a month. Be patient.
The opposite is also true. Maybe your child is ready for all those things. Maybe he is quite capable of impressing everyone with his 3-year-old knowledge. Guess what? That doesn’t mean he is a genius. He simply developed those skills at an earlier age than another child.
Let’s relax moms. Let’s give our children some room to develop naturally. Let’s not rush the cycle of life that God intended for our particular children. Let’s take the pressure off each other and ourselves.
Let’s be patient.
This weekend, put away the frustration or worry of where you think your children should be and just enjoy them. Whether that is with their noses in a book or out jumping mud puddles.
Have you felt the pressure from our culture of faster and sooner to hurry your child along?