There’s a lot being said today about securing our borders. Defining boundaries makes everyone feel more safe and secure, and the same holds true for children. It’s just human nature, and even the wildest child is almost always human. Because of the many choices our modern children get thrust upon them, they seem to have a more difficult time with boundaries than their ancestors. Some things today – like bedtimes, table manners, and respecting your elders – aren’t as important as they were in the past. Which sometimes make figuring out where they belong a little emotional.
The two most consistent things in a child’s life today are television and school. And no wonder. Both of these things are the same every day. We still operate on the “same time, same channel” routine even if parents have pre-recorded programs to fit into more convenient slots of family time. It’s the same with educators. Running a smooth classroom – much less getting any actual learning accomplished – can only be done by using a dependable set of rules. For the most part, children do not rebel against these things. Amazingly, they even derive a great deal of comfort from them. To know what’s coming next actually makes a child feel more secure. In the real world, a good schedule will almost always opt out over emotions for figuring out what you should do. No matter how old you are.
So, the next time our kindergartener asks if they can have Fruit Loops for snack every Wednesday, or our second grader wants to pick out a share toy two days in advance before the event… should we be so quick to talk them out of it because of the inconvenience? Maybe it’s just their way of trying to define their own boundaries in this big, wide, crazy world they live in.
Just like all the rest of us.