The beginning of the new school year is an excellent time to look at family priorities.
To do this, take one of your hands and make a closed fist. In that hand envision the items in your child’s life that you consider non-negotiable. Some options might be grades, college, popularity, a strong faith, or athletic accomplishments.
Take your other hand and open your palm to face the sky. Envision the items in your child’s life that you can release. These items are negotiable to you. Some options might be the color of their hair, clothing choices, certain friendships, food choices, and so on.
It is easy as parents to hold too many things in our closed fisted hand. We may even find that we don’t allow ourselves to have one that is kept open. But our children’s mental well-being cannot always hold up under the pressure of all of the closed fisted items and expectations that both we and our culture place on them. The stress they feel displays itself in the rising rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide nationally and within our own community.
Take some time to think about what your family holds in a closed fist. Is there anything that can be released this school year? Is mental well-being an item that your family has had in an open hand, and is it time to look at that differently? We can always make new choices!