Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Most Important Job

Today I have spent a lot of time thinking about the most important job I have in life right now – raising Zack. My thought process was inspired by reading an article about how important it is to provide structure, discipline and consistency to your children. Obviously Zack has faced a number of challenges in the last several years with Patty’s illness and passing. During the time of her illness much of the structure that we had built as a family disintegrated. The routines that had been established when Zack was very young were blown away by the need for us to do everything we could to support Patty in her battle to survive. Now that we are a good bit away from that time, Zack and I have been working to re-establish a series of routines in our house. I feel that it is utterly critical for us to have those day-to-day routines that we live by. For example, even though seventy percent of the time it is just Zack and I we still sit down to dinner at the kitchen table. Nancy will join us every once in a while, but she more frequently tends to eat dinner much earlier in the day, so Zack and I will eat alone. It would be very easy for us to give in and eat in the family room in front of the TV but we do not. In fact, we have a rule in the house that we can’t even watch TV while eating. (The family room TV is in easy sight of the kitchen table.) There are many other structures and routines that we have implemented for day-to-day life in our house. What I have found is that as these structures and routines are implemented, the amount of anxiety that Zack has faced has greatly diminished. Perhaps it is the length of time since Patty’s passing or perhaps it is the fact that we now have routine again. It is just wonderful to see Zack progress and move away from the anxiety issues. One of the largest challenges that I face is building a feeling of maturity and independence in Zack. During Patty’s illness his tendency was to seek a lot of comfort and support by relying upon me to always be there for him. Well – that now needs to change. He needs to grab life by the horns and do as much as he can to grow, become more independent and catch up to his peers. It has been fun and fulfilling to see Zack start to take on that feeling of independence. We go out to eat at Sweet Tomatoes and Cinzettis fairly frequently. These places are kind of like buffets. In the past, I always had to go with Zack to get his food. Now he is determined to do those kinds of things on his own. He wants to go and get food by himself as opposed to having me go with him. He will even tell me to stay at the table so that he can go by himself. In some ways it might seem sad to have your child start to assert their independence like that, but to me it makes me happy to see him fight through his fears of being alone and strike out to do things like that by himself. As I go through all of these development issues with Zack, it does take a fair amount of my time. I must admit that I have to work very hard with him to get him to take on some of these responsibilities. But it is so gratifying when he shows that he can be independent and work through the issues he faces. So yes – raising Zack is most definitely the most important job that I have. Our doings for the day were pretty much the same-old, same-old. I have had a ton of work to do in recent days. Zack had a good day at school and then he had Sylvan this afternoon. For dinner this evening we did splurge a little bit by going out to Dave and Busters. All-in-all it was a good day! We hope everyone is having a great week so far. Thanks and peace to all! – J.

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