The disease of wanting to be liked

Today after dropping off boy #2 at preschool, I was attempting to “sell” preschool to my daughter, using it as a leverage tool for her to (for the love) go in the potty.

Her response, “Yeah I go to preschool next year and people will like me!”

I have to stop buckling her seat and look at her.  Did she just say that?

She’s not even 3 but she’s going to go to preschool with the aim that people will like her?

Oh that little girl made my heartrate soar…

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As if surviving middle school and high school wasn’t enough, we’re continually bombarded by “likes” in our culture.  We wait for the newsfeed counter to tell us how many we’ve gained on social media, and we feel a lack when the internet voices are silent.

Adulthood presents just as much of a longing to belong.  For people to approve of my house or my desires– think my kids are well behaved.  For others to notice my hard work or my quiet spirit (the latter I have never been pointed out for! Ha!).

If this isn’t true, why do we buy a new car or take a great vacation or have our kid selected as honor student and immediately put it on Facebook– aren’t we all searching for someone’s notice?

No matter what persona we like to put out, it’s HARD when others simply don’t like us.

Did I do this to my little girl?  Did I unintentionally give her the feeling that people have to “like” us.  I’ve been so careful with my kids (even at their young ages) to quiet myself on body image and attitude (<- ok, that one notsowell), did I give the feeling that I, too, was waiting for the next approval rating from my peers?

I love the words of Brené Brown, who in her book Daring Greatly, said, “Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”

{{All the praise hands on that one!}}

So your supportive mom is upset- take notice.

Your best friend is frustrated with you- take notice.

A girl you see at school pick-up is nasty- WALK ON BY.

Crabby lady in the grocery store whines about your kids- WALK ON BY.

We can’t control everyone.  And really, if we are Christians, God redirects our focus.  In her book, Unashamed, Heather Davis Nelson says, “We expect the worst from others, and we assume that they think about us as negatively and as much as we fear they do (which is not usually true).  Yet even if their thoughts of us were as condemning as we fear, we are living for the wrong audience.  As someone created in the image of God and for the purpose of reflecting who God is, I am created to live before God alone.  (My emphasis added).

Yes!

It’s hard not being liked, but we are FREE. 

Have you struggled with this, too?  How do we teach our kids to search for real friends not “likers?”

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How good mentorship can change your finances and your life

Why do young men begin a life of thievery or violence in order to support their habits?

Why do some women serial date men that will never commit to marriage?

Why do young students go out and borrow $100,000 for a Bachelors degree?

This, and other issues, I believe can be radically changed by changing the level of mentorship in our society.

Sometimes, this mentorship will be called parenting, but many times it won’t come directly from the parents.  I remember reading something that said from the early teens onward, children aren’t keen to take mentorship from their own parents, they want to hear things from a trusted friend or family member, like an aunt or uncle or grandparent.

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The concept of mentorship has been around since Biblical times.

Paul writes in Titus 2 (ESV):

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.  Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,that the word of God may not be reviled.  Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.  Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Oh, how I’ve failed at this, too!  I’m not sure how much I’m teaching younger women to love their children or husbands when I’ve had a bad day and I’m crabby about my circumstances.  My grandma mentored me for much of my young life, and that didn’t mean she was perfect.  She had bad days, too!  But she committed the time just to sit with me,  let me talk, and then engage me with her thoughts.

In his book WreckedJeff Goins said:

“We need initiation- the older generation walking with the younger one, helping them learn where to walk and how.  This is called mentorship and its grossly needed in our schools, churches and culture… We need practical training where young people, even children, learn by doing, not merely watching or hearing.”

I think much of our student loan crisis could go back to a lack of mentorship.  If the parent who is co-signing the loans or helping the child apply for loans doesn’t explain, “Hey Jr, these 4 years of late nights and fun are going to cost you the equivalent of a mortgage payment.  Enjoy your fun now, because you’re going to be paying $700/month for the next 20 years,” how are young people supposed to know what they are really in for?  I’m thankful for my dad, who when I wanted to go to a different college said about my full-ride to Capital University, “You’re going there, you’ll thank me later.”

Many parents would rather see their children be happy than teach them to make wise choices.

I have a friend who went to college two years after high school because his parents took the time to teach him that college debt wasn’t necessary. He worked full-time those two years to help pay for his education.  In the grand scheme of life, him getting his bachelors degree at 24 instead of 22 did not ruin his career, but it did save him from a lot of interest payments!

Russell Moore wrote a piece on mentors and a few of his suggestions were very practical.  Be specific when you ask for mentoring.  Rely on different mentors for different aspects of your life.  You may know someone that has fruit on the tree when it comes to their finances or business- seek them out for advice on those matter.  Maybe you know a couple that has a marriage that you want to emulate- ask them how they do it.

There is nothing wrong about seeking out a mentor.  I’d rather look dumb by asking about a subject with which I need help than just go about something blindly.  After all, when I want to know more about something, I’ll pick up a book and take advice from someone I know nothing about- how much better to take counsel from someone from whom I have directly witnessed their character.

Do you have a mentor in your life?  Maybe someone mentored you as a young person and you believe it changed the trajectory of your life?   I’d love to hear!

For your additional reading:

A mentoring cheat sheet

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Take the kids out of school for vacation? Yay or Nay?

 

A few weeks ago on Facebook, another blogger posted this video from the Today Show in which the anchors discussed whether parents should be able to pull their kids out of school for family vacations.  It’s not just that the absences would be considered unexcused, it is actually considered illegal in some states.

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As a homeschooling family, I find this debate really compelling.  It seems to me it is one more situation in America where parents are ultimately losing the right to make decisions for their family.  I also find it interesting that we relate merely time in the classroom to the ultimate measure of what is “learned.”  You can be one of the valedictorians of your high school and still have much to learn upon graduation.  (*Cough* Cough* ME *).

I spoke to a few friends of mine that are educators – one in the US and one in Australia.  They feel that taking children away from school creates a difficult scenario for the teachers because oftentimes the kids come back from the trip and are behind in their work and then the parents expect the teacher to catch the child up.   (Oh, no no no) I can see how this can create a problem.

Last year when we traveled to Australia, Jackson would have missed close to 20 days of school (17 for travel, a few extra for jet-lag since we were up til 2 am the first few nights).  As a way to supplement, we did school for one week of Christmas break, and while we still finished up at Memorial Day, we started up again the 2nd week of July.  I don’t think our 4 weeks break suffered him anything but rich experience.

Also, when I was at my parents house not too long ago, I found my report card from my year on exchange.  I missed 23 days of class!  I’m sure I made it up in the social skills I learned while living with people I’d never met (yikes!) and giving impromptu speeches.  I also learned so much about the culture and political environment and industry.  23 days was nothing!

Now I realize that this experience is out of the norm, but I think we totally disregard skills learned during travel.  At the least of things- how about real world skills like boarding an airplane, figuring out distance and time to the destination, exchanging currency (if applicable).

If going to the ocean there are so many things to learn- tides, ecosystems, maybe even just more time spent as a family to hone cooking skills with mom or learn the physics of flying a kite with dad.

Yes, these things could be done at home or in school, but in a world of rushed families where many parents both work full-time, doesn’t family time win?  Don’t studies show that even if Junior has dinner with mom and dad 5 nights a week he will be more successful than someone who scores all A’s in school?

What do you think- should parents have full-range to pull kids out from school for family travel?  Should there be different restrictions- i.e. going to a National Park v. going to Disney World?  Or maybe you homeschool for this very reason- the flexibility of your time for travel and outings?dsc_0758

 Want more information?  Check out this article in the Boston Globe or this blog from a retired teacher.

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