Once You Join, Showing Up is a Must!0
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Our three children went through scores of activities during their years in both elementary and high school. Whether it was music lessons, sports, dance club, the school newspaper, civic activities or helping out in Sunday school, we have followed the same guidelines. Once they have made a promise, signed up to be part of an organization, there is no reason except for illness that they were not going to fulfill the commitment. It was not fair to others on the team or club that is depending on my child’s share of the work or participation for my child not to show up. As a parent, this was definitely not easy to do, especially when three children were going in different directions with their school and social activities.
Our parenting perseverance paid off eventually because I could hear in their own words the disappointment and annoyance when another classmate let the group down. A high school float that needed to be finished by a deadline was down to the wire when several students repeatedly failed to show up to help. A backstage dance show was more stressful when volunteers never arrived for costume or set changes. The same frustrations surfaced years later as my girls described co-workers at summer jobs who failed to show up and headed to the beach instead. This made the workload harder for those that did come to work and added extra hours to their shifts. Apparently, the word commitment did not enter into these absent students’ decisions.
To this day my grown children often tease me about my “stiff rules” when they took extracurricular activities. My standards were plain and simple. If they wanted to be enrolled in an activity of any kind, they were required to finish out the length of the course or sessions that I had signed them up to take. There were also obligations to the group or team that they wanted to join. Besides not wasting money, I wanted them to learn that there was scheduling involved when I needed to drive them to an activity, lesson, practice or game.
There is more to teaching your child academics to prepare him or her for adult life. Learning to be committed can start with pets, lessons, household chores and student involvement. Later on in life it will translate to success in advanced educational quests, job commitment and hopefully strong ties in personal relationships as well.