Parenting mistake number….well, honestly I’ve lost count. My husband and I agreed that our role as parents was to assist our daughters in discovering their gifts. Doing this has meant providing them with opportunities to participate in a multitude of activities and sports. Only time will tell if our efforts will result in success but I recently recognized a mistake we were making.
In our house the expectation to attend college started early. Academic excellence and contributing to college savings have always been expectations. Early planning allowed our oldest daughter the opportunity to participate in an early childhood program at a local university as a toddler. Trips to the bookstore often resulted in purchases of university paraphernalia and obviously one of the purchases was the typical grey sweatshirt. Her ODU sweatshirt was a fashion favorite but I’m not sure if it was the comfort or the reaction she got from adults when she told them she attended the university. I’m sure she really didn’t understand why adults thought she was so darn cute when she said, “I go to ODU,” but the response certainly encouraged her to continue saying it.
We’ve worked hard to make sure the girls knew our expectations for their success but I think we missed a crucial element. We failed to celebrate our own academic successes. During my formative years I watched my parents struggle pursuing degrees while working full-time. It wasn’t easy for them and it certainly made me appreciate their academic accomplishments. Acquiring my masters in administration meant family sacrifices but my husband did a great job insuring the normalcy in our house. Looking back I should have participated in commencement but we were so busy surviving day-to-day and I dismissed this opportunity.
I spent some time visiting with a fellow parent recently while dropping our younger daughter off at a slumber party. While chatting with this parent, I noticed diplomas from VMI and Virginia Tech prominently displayed in the living room. I wondered where our diplomas were. After several days of searching I finally located our diplomas in a milk crate filled with discarded picture frames in a walk-in-storage closet. Honestly, I had always thought about having the documents framed and displayed but sadly the expense deterred me.
Since I’m in the middle of reorganizing and redecorating our home office it was the perfect opportunity to right this wrong. The frames were ordered and my learning has continued. I’m recognizing that our accomplishments are important and we need to celebrate that fact. Raising children means living as an example not just setting expectations.