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How Do I Know? The Decade Version

September 20, 2018 - Jen Zbozny
When Eve was an infant I was stymied by having to figure out what time bedtime was for her. Since she was basically waking and sleeping in bursts all day, I was wildly confused as to how I was supposed to determine what exact hour was the right one to implement the "nighttime sleep sequence protocol". I thought there should be a universal answer and I could find it in a book or a nurse could tell me. I was wrong. I laugh at that version of me and how eye-opening I found it that the answer truly was "just pick one and go with it." I thought there was an absolute or at least a range of times that could be discovered by using available, observed data. Note well, I nearly always think there should be an answer that's supported by research and data analysis or historical foundations in science, history, math, - you get the idea. Note well, I have learned a LOT about "just pick one and go with it" in these intervening ten years.

Ten. Years.

My alien is no longer an actual alien. She speaks English, often with razor sharp precision and incredible word choice. She's pretty responsible, listens well, still has the occasional meltdown, but never makes an unholy mess of her dinner plate any more, and is generally resourceful. That's progress, right? But here's my question.

Curious" > How do I know that I haven't already made a mess of it? Is she set in stone by ten years old? Can she never go back to piano lessons or dance classes and become successful at dance or piano because I've already let her stop both kinds of lessons? Truth be told, I didn't "let her stop" piano. We had to stop due to situations beyond our control. Truth be told, she was happy to be done.

What I'm saying is, at ten does she need to already have formed outlets and hobbies and directions in her life that will carry her through junior high, high school, and college by now? Does she need to have joined band or become an runner so that she can be part of the band group or the athletes going forward?

Or does she have time to continue to discovering and jump in later, even if she's already jumped out of some things already? Can she jump back in?

Again, I'd like to have data on this. I'd like to be able to analyze material, make observations, consult experts and then come to a conclusion based on facts, math, science, and precedent. That is what I'd like. I'm betting, however, that I probably again have to go with "uh, just pick an answer and you'll be fine. Ten is fine. If she wants to join band in 7th grade, that's fine. If not, she'll also be fine."

I'm betting that's what the real answer is. I'm also betting it will nag at me until I'm sure she's fine and that just like when it was time to stop wearing diapers at night, she'll know it well before I do.

What about you? Were you pushed to pursue activities with long range arcs? Do you do the same to your children? Or do you let them try things out and see what sticks? How are these things working for you and your kids? If, when you answer, you can make it sound like data analytics, I would deeply love that.


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