Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What we did right with each of our kids - Part V - Jack

(NOTE: Parents are forever lamenting the things they wish they had done differently with their children. "I should have been more strict about this" or "I wish I had let her participate in that." That type of stuff. I see nothing productive there, so instead I choose to celebrate the things that Terry and I appear to have done well with our children. Plus, it's a good way to fill five days of blog posts. So there's that.)

At the ripe old age of 11, my son Jack is still a work in progress. You can of course argue that ALL of us are works in progress, but what I mean is that, compared with my older kids, he's still fairly malleable in terms of how he sees the world and the values he absorbs from us, his parents.

Jack busts me up. I don't know if it's because he's so naturally funny (he really is) or if it's just because he's kid #5 and Terry and I are, in general, more laid back and relaxed in our approach to raising him vs. our older children.

I actually like to think we've been pretty laid back with all of the kids, since my wife and I are essentially laid back people. Maybe too laid back in some ways, though we've been trying to focus only on the positive in these "what we did right with each of our kids" posts, so I'll stay away from that.

So to wrap up the series, here are five things Terry and I may have actually done right when it comes to little Jack:

(1) We're letting him try a new family sport: cross country. Like everyone in the family at one point or another has done, Jack plays soccer. Like three of his siblings before him, he has done this since he was a kindergartner. But over the last couple of months he has started distance running through the Wickliffe Junior Olympics program, and it's obvious we've stumbled upon something for which he has talent and from which he derives enjoyment. Bingo. I have no idea what his sporting future holds, but I have a feeling that soccer and cross country will have a hard time co-existing in his life, and that he will eventually (maybe very soon) have to pick one or the other.

(2) We got him swimming lessons when he was a baby. A toddler, really, but still, he was much younger than any of the other kids were when they learned to swim. I think Terry started taking him to lessons when he was 2. I'm amazed at how well kids that age can do in the water, especially since I'm not exactly a fish myself. That was a good call.

(3) We exposed him to electronics fairly early. Like most in his generation, Jack is a technological native. He was proficient in all types of hardware and software from an early age. And while he often spends too much time on various devices, he at least has a sense that there's such a thing as "too much time on devices." He'll learn to balance it all out as he gets older.

(4) We taught him to be affectionate. This may be just Jack's personality, but to this day he still hugs us and tells us he loves us every day. I'll be interested to see how much of that goes away as he hits his teen years, but right now he has no problem showing the world he loves his mom and dad. It's sweet.

(5) We taught him to lose. Now understand, when he was really, really little, I would arrange it so that Jack would win most games of Candyland or Chutes and Ladders. You don't want to crush their dreams quite that early. But for the most part, when we play a family game and Jack wins, he wins on his own. There's a lot of losing in life, and I don't say that in an Eeyore, whoa-is-us manner. It's just the way things are. The sooner you learn that, and the sooner you learn to deal with it, even if it's just a seemingly unimportant card or board game, the better.

1 comment:

  1. After reading the whole article I think, the parenting tips given by you are very beneficial for everyone. Because nowadays it is very difficult for every child to survive without proper knowledge and good skills. This is your responsibility to give all the skills and knowledge of your child. This will start in the first class. This is your responsibility first to increase the mental power of your child with the help of online applications and websites. Thanks for this great article. I appreciate all five parts of this article.