This idea came to me in a place with no space – the front seat of my car.
We have a Volvo that sat 6 in 1995, but I’m not sure the way-back seats are legal anymore, so we’ll say it fits 5 uncomfortably.
My son rides up front with me, and about 40 percent of the time, some pet we are taking to the vet rides in the back with my daughter. The other 60 percent of the time it’s just the three of us, bags of library books, art supplies, burritos, groceries, Goodwill donations … #momlife #blessed #help
My son’s new nickname is DJ Frontseat, a nod to the music he creates wherever he goes. He recently got a portable MPC, which means that it comes with us everywhere. At 14, he finally has need for a backpack.
(There is no space for the backpack.)
There’s no space for the MPC either really, but we make space, which of course is what this post is all about – making space for our kids to pursue their passions.
I’m often asked about that. People see my daughter’s candle company, or my son making music, or one of them drawing in a new way, or all of us volunteering, and they ask how we have time for it?
“Aren’t you busy?” they ask.
“What about academics?”
Well here is where I tell you something shocking:
I don’t worry a whole lot about academics.
Please don’t call DCFS. What I mean is:
- My kids learn like crazy. I can not stop them. I have tried making them binge-watch trash television with me and they still learn. It’s maddening.
- I have serious doubts that kids need what schools are telling us they need. Times have changed, and I think the system is broken.
- We are going to get to the academic stuff my kids need because they are motivated little individuals with big plans, and basically can’t be stopped. And we love them endlessly, so if they need a class, or a tutor, or a book – if they need to learn something obscure or 300 batteries, or a life coach or airfare, we’re going to make sure that noise happens.
I have absolute faith that your kids are going to learn what they need to too.
So we don’t have to worry about that in this post, right?
Instead, let’s talk about how we can make space for our kids’ passions:
1. Make physical space
My home does not look like a classroom. Instead, it looks a little like we’re preparing for a garage sale at any moment + a science lab + a music studio + an art loft + dishes.
In our basement, we have an unreasonable number of tables for “projects.” These tables host art creations and building projects and general child bric-a-brac, and my rule is out of sight, off of my responsibility list.
The same goes for my kids’ rooms. They constantly have about 44 books in progress each, open face-down on various surfaces that are also covered with art supplies, electronic gadget components, clothing, stuffed creatures, cans/cups/bottles and cats.
So what I am saying is, passions are MESSY.
Look at Einstein’s hair. That’s what we’re going for.
Is something that your kids care about creating an obnoxious eyesore that makes you nuts when you look at it?
Guess what? You’re WINNING.
2. Make time space
In order for our kids to pursue something with the gusto of 1,000 salsa dancers, we need to give them time to do it.
That means keeping the schedule light. We don’t do a ton of outside classes. My kids don’t play a lot of sports (although if a sport was their passion, we would support them in it).
I consider it part of my job to not overbook my kids and instead to make sure that they have long stretches to create. Creating takes time – and not just in-the-cracks-time.
It takes 4 hours straight on a Tuesday. It takes bringing them lunch on a paper plate so that they can keep going.
Do you have something you love doing? Do you ever wish that the world would stop so that you could have time for it – long, uninterrupted stretches of time?
Here’s what’s amazing – we can give that to our kids.
3. Make emotional space
What is emotional space?
It means that we don’t thrust our junk onto our kids.
I am not a confrontational person, but I once went full mama-bear on a relative who insisted that my son needed to play baseball:
“He doesn’t want to play baseball,” I said. “He plays piano. In fact, he’s doing it right now and you’re missing it because you are hung up on him being a sports star.”
If we don’t give our kids the emotional space to pursue what drives them, think of what they miss! You just never know what is going to light a kid up!
So let them try new stuff you’ve never heard of, and learn with them.
Don’t judge their hobbies. Don’t value drawing over archery or tennis over yodeling.
We are gifted incredible kids – we just need to let them be who they were made to be.
So consider – in what ways can we give our kids more space for what makes their soul sing? Can you make just one tiny change, starting today?