I recently had an emotional moment on Facebook about something that’s been bothering me about the childhood I wanted to create for our son, A.J. Based on the comments below the post and direct messages I received about it, I’m not the only parent who’s coping with this “childhood comparison” at the moment. Here’s what I posted:
Public vs. Private School
Our school year hasn’t started out in a picture-perfect way. In fact, we didn’t even take a “first day of school” picture. A.J. didn’t feel like he was ready to go back to school. He wanted a few more weeks to relax around the house and ease his way back into getting up early every morning for class.
As I shared on Facebook, it saddens me that his childhood is so vastly different from mine.
My husband and I are proud products of public school, but lately, I’ve been exploring private school options in Atlanta that would better suit A.J.’s needs as a gifted student.
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“Your post about your son’s childhood not being like yours hit me hard because my kids have moved way more times than I did as a child.”
That’s a message I received in my inbox after the Facebook post about comparing my childhood to A.J.’s.
I lived in one house throughout my childhood and into college.
Growing up, did you move around a lot or stay in the same childhood home? Do you think your children will have the same experience living in the same home for most of their lives? What are the advantages or disadvantages of moving around?
Generationally, I think things are just different. Many of us move frequently for career reasons vs. our parents who stayed in jobs and homes longer.
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The Great Outdoors
In another “childhood comparison,” the lack of outdoor play our children experience really bothers me. The first summer we lived in our current home, an air conditioning technician came by in mid-July for a service call. He noticed, “This is the first time I’ve seen kids playing outside all summer.”
All summer? In July, in the south…
There ARE children A.J.’s age who live in our cul de sac. But they rarely come outside to play.
For the neighborhood friend who does play outside with A.J. – we have great communication with her family. At least one adult comes outside to watch the kids play basketball or ride their scooters.
Other options include driving to neighborhood parks, paying for entrance to play spaces or paying to enroll in sports.
Call me cheap if you want to, but I miss the days when playing outside after school burned lots of energy and calories without my parents paying anything out-of-pocket. Add to the fact that although our son is active, he’s not particularly athletic. We didn’t introduce him to organized sports until he was six years old when he attended Braves Baseball Camp.
Within the comments of my original, I had reason to pause and look at things differently. Several friends said they had similar feelings. Others reminded me that just because his childhood won’t be like mine, doesn’t make it any better or worse.
My business mom, Kyle Young, reminded me of a song by the soul/folk group, Sweet Honey in the Rock. “On Children” is based on a poem by Kahlil Gibran.
It’s a reminder that “Your Children Are Not Your Children.” They’re of this world. They’re individuals. They’re here to explore and live their own lives, not recreate ours.
I’ve thought about this as well and got a little sad about it. I felt my childhood was great but recognize my kids won’t be like that due to do many factors. Like your said they’re individuals so they have to find their own way.
I wish my kids could grow up in the slower pace of Charleston, my hometown. Everyone felt like family and since we don’t have much family left I really wish we settled in that comfort.
I do not have children yet, but I can imagine having the same feelings in regards to the childhood comparisons.
Yes this does make me a little sad about my son’s childhood compared to mine. I mean I lived in the same house until I went away to college even then I came back to that same house same room and all. But I like the ending quote from the song and I agree 100%
My son’s childhood is different, but I am hoping that is a good thing. I am so excited about his individual path, but a few years ago he took a class at my old college and got to meet people who knew a different me and it was cool.
We just realized a couple years back that there was a kid my oldest son’s age living just a few houses down. We NEVER saw him outside. We found out he lived there when they were talking about their neighborhoods at summer camp one year. My childhood is totally different from my kids, but I do want them to see some of the TV shows and movies that shaped my life as a kid.
My children have a better childhood than I did. I went to nine schools from Kindergarten to High School. I was at the same middle school for two years and the same HS for four years. Let that sink in. We moved almost every year.
My kids do sports, and I never did. My son was in private school for two years and I only did public. We are more hands on parents in a way my single parent could. I’m okay with things being different.
I realize my children are not us but we’ve worked very hard to prepare a life for them better than our own. It has honestly paid off!
I want my daughter to have a better childhood than me. If I were to compare, I am crushing that goal. Remind yourself and give yourself grace for the choices you two make as AJ’s parent. He is such a happy and smart child.
There are certain aspects I had in my childhood that I wished my kids could experience. One of them being the closeness I had with my cousins. But, I am happy that I can give them a better life financially and a better education because of the childhood I had.
I’ve thought about this a lot. There are hardly any children for my youngest to play with outside and I know she gets bored racing me and I get tired. I miss the days where a group of friends hung out outside all day until the street light came on.
My husband and I often talk about our childhood in relation to our children, and we try to recreate some of it but for the most part we try to go with the flow for our children. Like you said both my husband and I went to public school but we have a special needs child that is currently in private school so that has been an adjustment for us because we have one in public and one in private. I think its okay to add some of your childhood into theirs so they have a mixture!
This is something my husband and I talk about often. Things are so very different and unfortunately not always for the better. I went to private school my entire life. My Husband went to public. We are truly from opposite sides of things but in raising our children we want them to get the best of both. It can be difficult and at times a challenge but raising well rounded children is always worth the time.
Kids definitely have a different childhood than we did. I dont have kids yet but I am always taking my niece and nephew somewhere and they are spoiled because they can go to cool kid friendly stuff complimentary because of me and that makes me the cool aunt!