â€œWhen my oldest child was born, I wished for what every parent wants â€” to have a happy and healthy child. The reality is, that is what we ask for, but no parent is satisfied with just happy and healthy. Itâ€™s a really good start, but if we are to be honest with ourselves, we want so much more for our children. Please let them not have the life struggles that I had, please let them fit in, please help them to be successful, to have friends and a kind and caring heart. Happy and healthy-while not a lie, is just not enough.â€
Out of the Box Learning ~ Empowering YOU On Your Homeschool Journey
Born two months premature and later diagnosed with Touretteâ€™s Syndrome, my son had a multitude of health, social and emotional issues, that tested our fortitude as new parents. Happy and healthy wasnâ€™t enough during those early days as we questioned what life would be like in later years for our little one.
The struggle to balance all of the opinions from the experts and other parents at the playgrounds, with our own thoughts on what was right for our child was difficult. Many times, my husband and I went along with advice when it just didnâ€™t feel right. Each time we listened to otherâ€™s opinions it felt like we move farther away from happy and healthy.
The playground became a frequent outing for my son, and a necessity for me for adult interaction that I was so starved for. The conversations always turned toward which dance class the kids were enrolled in and later, which college they would attend. The moms were very convincing that if a child didnâ€™t get into the best preschool, he would be miserable for the rest of his life. Many of the moms already had their kids enrolled in baby sign language and gymnastics classes. I was still figuring out how to get sweet potato barf out of the beige carpeting, and how many meals I could make in my crockpot without my husband protesting.
Somewhere in that beautiful mess, I found my voice. My husband and I took charge of our childâ€™s health, and have been homeschooling our three children for over eleven years.
Hindsight is 20/20 and twenty years have passed in the blink of an eye! Our oldest is now in college, the middle child will leave for the Marines this year, and youngest is still home and will be starting highschool next year. Happy and healthy did arrive for our children, but only after we stopped listening to others and followed our own path. Our children make (mostly) good decisions and are strong in their convictions. We empower them to be independent and free thinkers. We encourage them to voice their opinions. They are kind, compassionate, and caring to others. They stand up for injustice in the world. They take care of one another. Happy and healthy, I found out, is a journeyâ€”not a destination.
There are things you can do and say that will uplift all children on the way to a lifetime of happy and healthy.
â€¢ Focus on the childâ€™s successes. Not their grades or whether they passed, but how they tackled the problem. Perseverance, diligence and practice are more important than the outcome.
â€¢ Be their lifeline. Be the soft place to land. But be the mama bird that gives them wings to fly too.
â€¢ Listen, more than you speak. Kids donâ€™t always want us to solve their problem. Sometimes they just want to be heard and hugged. Ask â€œWhat can I do to help?â€
â€¢ Offer to help in ways that empower them to problem solve.
â€¢ Go to lunch. Spend time with each child, 1:1 during a lunch date. Turn off the electronics and talk. Time alone and a good meal can solve a lot of the worldâ€™s problems.
â€¢ Teach them to help others who have less than them, who have no voice, who need a helping hand.
Happy and healthy is a great start. But the journey there brings so much joy!
Beverly Burgess is mom to three homeschooled children, a Homeschool Coach and author of Out of the Box Learning ~ Empowering YOU On Your Homeschool Journey.
You can find her at her Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on Pinterest.
She has kindly given her email address should you wish to contact her form more information.