It's that time of the year.
If your mental calendar has no recollection of a January to December schedule, instead, you live and function centered around a September to May timeline, you'll share my sentiment.
That time of year I speak of can best be described as post-spring-break-anxiety. Those of us who like to pride ourselves in the fact that anxiety doesn't reside in our minds' zip code, do a lot of apologizing, when this time of the year comes around. I don't care who you are, the weeks between spring break and the last week of school bring out the crazy in all of us!
If we're not heading off to a child's field trip, we're frantically making midnight runs to Walmart to complete a class project. If we're married, we tag in/out our spouse, on our way to one kid's athletic practice, while the spouse attends the other kid's athletic game. Drive-thru dinners and car-seated laps for homework become the norm and we find ourselves scheduling our own potty breaks, just as much as we schedule whether we'll shower tonight or wait another day.
Sometimes it literally feels like the entire school year rests on the success of an eight-week period, between the middle of March and the beginning of June. Why is that?!?
At Pure Truth, we offer an annual scholarship, to a graduating senior, in our county, awarding them for their excellence in being a positive change agent, for their peers. But, even though our scholarship application process is weighted heavily on whether they have impacted their peers for the good, I am always struck with how conditioned these seniors are to make sure and display their academic rigor, as well as their community service hours. Now, before you think we don't care about those avenues of a student's success, we wholeheartedly applaud their desire to finish their schooling career with such determination and drive. But, in the past six years we have had the pleasure of offering this scholarship, I'm always left with the question:
As influencing adults, are we mirroring a life, in front of the next generation, that works toward excellence, without compromising our personal well-being?
As Andrew Peterson writes, in his powerful song Be Kind to Yourself,
How does it end, when the war that you're in
is just you, against you, against you...,
most of our battles, whether we are 15 or 85, is fought with the person in our reflection. We make demands that we would never make on anyone else, justifying that if we "let ourselves go", we'll never *fill me in the blank*.
All day long, we can tell our children to slow down, take deep breaths, only do what you can, but is it truly making a difference in their outlook on life if, when they see us, we're spinning our wheels, running from one event/person/to-do to another? Are they seeing what is balanced or what is simply what we have to do, to survive?
We want our children to have a healthy self-esteem, especially in the culture of finding their significance in what others say about them, but that self-esteem will be built on their learning to be kind to themselves. And, who is their greatest influence?
Yes, building a good resume is important. Keeping a detailed schedule is helpful. Fulfilling responsibilities paves the way for others to do their jobs well. But, when mistakes are made, days are filled with unmet expectations, and everything we touch seems to crumble, are our children seeing a grace given to ourselves? Are they seeing that perfection truly is something to be forfeited and joy is found in picking ourselves up and starting over?
Be kind to yourself. In the midst of the running, pause and check your pulse, regardless if your children are watching. Get in a habit of not only making sure your body has nutrition, but your heart and mind have what they need to run the race well.
Our children will glean much more than a well-rounded transcript and the ability to do one million things in a week's time. They will be able to smile, in the face of the crazy, confident that they are not only loved by you, but valuable to themselves.