I love my confirmation students. They are bright, funny, full of energy and generally love life and each other. Most weeks they share their highs and lows and what I hear makes me worry. These kids have schedules and pressures that would be daunting to most 30-year-olds. Of course, they don't manage this themselves, parents are doing the juggling required to allow these hectic schedules. I honor these parents for their commitment to their kids. I also wonder how it came to this - that neither children, nor parents, have any time to play.
When I listen to the highs and lows of middle schoolers I hear things like: got an A on my math test, my team won their game and, on the flip side: had to miss sleeping over at my friend's house because I had a tournament, got a C on a Spanish quiz. Which of these things do you think will matter to them when they are parents themselves? Mom and Dad, what do you remember from 7th and 8th grade? I remember hanging out at the community pool with my friends, a special family vacation and being allowed to sleep in the family pop-up camper in the back yard with friends. It was all about relationships. Sure, there was school, but what I remember most about school is the people. I remember who my choir teacher was and who got into trouble in Social Studies but I don’t remember what books I read in English (my favorite subject).
We participate in all this activity out of fear. We are afraid our kids won't get into the best colleges. We're afraid that if they have too much time on their hands they'll get pregnant or experiment with drugs. We have, somehow, been convinced that there is more bad than good in the future. Yet we claim to be people of faith. So - have a little faith. Your kids need to know that you believe in them and in their potential and that you believe that God will take care of them. This frantic pace is sending your kids a message: they won't be good enough! Please, tell them they are so worthy that the creator of the universe came to earth and died and rose again out of love for them. How much better do they need to be? They are worthy because they ARE, not because they DO. And so are you dear parents! Your kids and God love you for who you are, not for what you do!
I'm not suggesting that you and your children should be slackers. I just want to encourage you to trust God with your child's future. No matter what you plan, there is only so much you can control. Promising athletes get injured, impressive scholars burn out, geeky high school kids grow up to start giant companies. Have a little faith! Slow down and check out your choices. Are they made from a place of love, or a place of fear? Is your child playing soccer, saxophone, or Cyrano to please you, themselves or some mythical college recruiter in their future? Might that child rather just be playing?
Fear freezes but love flows. Love moves us with it like water in a stream. You will not stay in the same place if you fight against it or go with it. It will carry you along regardless. Where you end up may not match your planned destination but if love takes you there, it will be blessed. Have a little faith.