Excuses or Strategies
April 20, 2017

This is a blog I am revising from my first year at Harbor.  I thought an update on my parenting plan might be interesting.  Or not.  Here is the original blog:

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"Don't make excuses - make a strategy!"...and so my new motto was born. My son was complaining that his Wednesday piano lessons were stressful, trying to play the songs well for his teacher. He only practices about 2 times a week, never for more than 20 minutes. He loves piano, but wanted to quit. Truth be told, he has a lot of homework and I do believe in "down time" so his evenings are pretty full. More truth be told, he has more than sufficient "down time" and could certainly spend some of it practicing piano. I acknowledged his stress and busy schedule. However, rather than waste time making excuses, he and I worked out a strategy. By practicing 10 minutes every day, or even squeezing in two 10-minute sessions, he would get a lot more practice time in, making Wednesdays less stressful.

 

In a culture of over-indulgence, helicopter parenting, and instant gratification, many worry that our children will be ill-equipped to handle the "real world." What exactly is this real world of which we speak? As highly functioning adults, we have to work hard to reach our goals and accept occasional failure. We are responsible for the well-being of not only ourselves, but our families and friends. We get defeated, and get up and keep going. I am far from innocent of complaining, but even while doing so, I am formulating a strategy so that I can keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other.  

 

Our children will be independent (I promise!); they will be responsible for their own lives. A scary thought, but undeniably true. We must gift them with the strategies to navigate life's bumpy roads. Remember, we cannot always control what happens, but we can control how we react. Don't make excuses - make a strategy!

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Fast forward to today.  Curiously enough (said with sarcasm) the piano practice schedule did not significantly change.  We were still all freaking out the evening before lessons, trying to make up for lost time.

Last month, I was fed up.  Our family had fallen into the habit of coming home, spreading out to four different rooms in the house, and holing up until dinner, or beyond!  The children did their homework, we worked, and then we all took some of our own down time.  Inevitably, nearing bedtime, nobody felt like practicing piano, emptying the dishwasher, putting away laundry, or anything, really.   Time for a new plan.  After 30 minutes of downtime, the children are required to complete their chores and “have-to-dos” before retreating to their rooms.  In the past month, my son has practiced piano EVERY SINGLE DAY for at least 10 minutes.  He (and his piano teacher) both commented on how much easier the lessons are, and how much progress he is making.

Here’s my lesson:  It is never too late to revise the plan.  It is never to late to implement a new plan.

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