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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Standing on Middle Ground.

Does anyone know what it's like to be nobody? To have never stood out in your life?  I do.

In high school, if we had had a category for it, I think I would have been voted "Most Likely to Stay Behind the Scenes".  I made decent grades, sure.  They were high enough to keep me out of the in crowd, but not quite high enough for me to be part of the intellectual crowd.

Ok, so, I honestly don't know where I fell in the whole grand scheme of high school.  I don't think I belonged to any crowd, per se.  I pretty much befriended anyone that wanted to be my friend.

I was standing on middle ground.  Even then.

This calling stuck with me through more than just high school.  Anyone that knew me in college  and beyond would say the same things about me.  I was good, but not good enough to stand out in a crowd. I never stood for anything.  I felt no connection to causes.  I might think a cause is worthwhile...such as causes working towards curing cancer, but I was never attached to any of them.  I was never actively participating in anything that required taking a stand.  Anything that required choosing a side.

I was still standing on middle ground.

As time went on, I got married.  I stood on middle ground, there, too.  I refused to take a side when my sister and matron-of-honor fought over which dress looked best, who should walk with who, how they should wear their hair, and what color their nails should be.  It was easier to just let them fight it out than risk one of them being angry with me over my wedding.

Not surprisingly, I have had the same convictions as it comes to my parenting style.    I read the books, but don't follow them to the T.  I have heard of various parenting styles, of which I fit into no categories.  I am not an attached parent, nor am I a detached parent. I do not practice Ferberizing, but I am not opposed to letting her protest for a few minutes when I know she is just tired.  I am part of two play groups, but I do not schedule out activities for each day. 

It seems that in this day and age, raising a child has become a huge competition.  Parents are enrolling their three-month-olds in classes, lessons, and designated play times.  Anything to keep up with the Jones's.  Everything seems to be in extremes these days.  Either every minute of every day is scheduled out with designated times for free play, reading, and musical play; or you have the parents that stick their children in front of a TV all day.  What ever happened to the middle ground?  The area in-between these two extremes where kids have time to play freely, but also have time to relax, or time for lessons?  Does it really have to be one or the other?

What ever happened to being a kid, for that matter?  I see commercials for kids toys these days, and no longer do I see toys that build imagination and require active play.  Instead, I see commercials for learning video games, and movies that teach your child to read and write, play computers, and toys filled with so many batteries and lights that a young child just needs to sit there and watch it go.  Children used to be able to learn through playing outside, through using their imaginations, and through testing limits.

Do babies really need this?  Do we need to be pushing our babies and children to excel?  Do they need classes designed to encourage active play, or music play, or quiet time?  Does your child really finish ahead if he is enrolled in preschool before his second birthday?  Is average not good enough anymore?

What ever happened to standing on middle ground??  When are kids allowed to be kids? Why does it have to be one extreme or the other?  I am finally taking a stand.  I am taking a stand to stay on middle ground.  I am taking a stand to choose neither side.  I am taking a stand to just let my kid be a kid.  Nothing more, nothing less.


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