Who Am I to Decide What Has Value?

I started thinking the other day about what we value.  Both what our family values and the values I am trying to instill in my boys.

I really started wondering about whether or not I am showing them that I support what they value.

Oftentimes as adults we can easily overlook what kids want to do or the activities that kids use to fill up their time and I am always afraid that my boys might start thinking that I don't value what they are interested in or doing.

After all, who am I to decide what has value?

Sure I am interested and try to listen with intent, give them my attention, and nod along when they are excited to tell me about what they are working on.

However, I do ask them to put away what they are working on whenever it suits me and our family schedule.  Because, well, I'm the mom and sometimes I have to veto what they want to do for the greater good.

I just hope they understand that I am doing it for their own good.

I couldn't even count the number of times I tell them to turn off the TV or their video games to come and do schoolwork, or eat, or help me clean house, or run errands, or visit with family.

I could not tell you the number of times I have begged them to stop telling me in excruciating detail about every single gaming battle they participated in on any given day while playing video games.

My eyes do glaze over on occasion when they are telling me a 30 minute synopsis of a short chapter book and I may not listen as well as I should.

I worry that my kids might think these behaviors show that I don't care about their interests.  I worry that they will stop telling me about those things they are passionate about if I am not showing much interest.

Just because I can not always show the same level of interest and excitement over what they are involved in does not mean that I don't value the time they spend playing video games. building with Legos or reading books.

I know they are learning skills they will be putting to use in the future.

 I know that they learn a lot playing games, connect with friends, and use those games as a creative outlet. I'm fine with them playing video games... in moderation.

I love seeing my boys Lego buildings and creations and I know that they are learning trial and error, perseverance, and developing problem solving skills.  But I can not always sit and watch them build for prolonged periods of time or sit through a 20 minute explanation on why they chose each and every brick they used.

I have been thinking about whether or not I need to change the way I handle these things.

Should I act more interested in what they are saying (even when I'm not?).  Should I stop telling them to turn off their screens to do things that suit me or the families' needs at the time?

I finally came to conclusion that I don't mind making them stop and take breaks when they are playing video games, giving a detailed re-telling of a story, or making my eyes cross with lots and lots of details about what they built.

Asking my boys to stop doesn't mean I don't value what they're doing but I am trying to help them learn to balance their interests and take other people's feelings into consideration.  I have pointed out to them that would not enjoy hearing me talk for 30 minutes about cooking, blogging, or scrapbooking and that I deserve the same consideration.

I also remind them quite often that while fun endless hours spend playing video games is not good for them or their bodies.  I'm trying to teach them to re-tell stories concisely without adding in every single detail (unless asked).

I remind them that there are many things I'd LIKE to spend my day doing but there are things I have to do.  I can't neglect them, the house, the chores or their schoolwork or else we'd starve and live in a very dirty house.

I think it's an important life skill to take other people's feelings into consideration and I KNOW that teaching my boys to balance their interests is vital... after all, my husband values work and would easily work round the clock if I didn't intervene and ask him to take breaks for family fun, vacations, and down time.

We all need reminders from time to time to re-focus our efforts and I hope they realize that is all I am trying to do.  I am not taking away the things they love to do but reminding them that life is about variety, balance, and fostering relationships.

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  1. Balance is so important and that is something they will come to value as well! You are right, sometimes your mom Veto is where it's at! Great post!

    1. Thank you! I sure hope they thank me one day (or at least acknowledge that it wasn't so awful).

  2. I agree with the need for balance, and it's hard to teach that to children. But, starting at a young age sounds like a good time :)

    1. It is hard to teach it to them. They just don't see it! Hopefully with lots of reminders it will eventually sink in.


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