April

6

2011

Bucket List for Parenting

Filed under: Parenting | Tags:

A Bucket List is a list of things you want to do before you die. I’ve made one for my parenting that lists the things I want my daughters to learn. These are things that I panic about if my kids are not learning. You might think some of them—“learn the Fox Trot,” for example—are bucking ridiculous. But each parent has a different list, a list that comes from a combination of things they did that worked, things they wanted to do as a child but couldn’t, or things that they gave up on and shouldn’t have.

For example, although I took ballet classes with Madame Toesea (pronounced toes-ee-yay, would you believe – and she was terrible) – I never took regular dance lessons. As a result, at dances and weddings (including my own) whenever people got up to dance, I spent a lot of time glued to my chair, worrying. I don’t want that for my kids. I wouldn’t feel this way if I had taken lessons when I was a kid, so it’s on the list.

My Bucket List

1. Play the violin

This is my bottom line. I played violin as a child and was good. My biggest regret is that I squandered my potential in high school, when I turned down a violin scholarship to a virtuoso program because I wanted to follow my friends and attend a co-ed school. So obviously, I’m living vicariously through my kids, and some parents would say this is terrible. Sure, living vicariously through your kid might be a questionable thing to do, but perhaps it’s evolution. And: just listen to Fiona play!

How We Are Doing: Grade – A+, and may I stress that I am not a Tiger Mom. It’s my husband who is a Panda Dad.

2. Speak a second language

This is a sore spot for me – my mother was a linguist and a language professor who spoke 5 languages (Lithuanian, Russian, German, French, and English). She didn’t teach me any of them, except English, which out of all of them, is pretty gosh-darn useful. I think it was because after WW II, like many survivors, she wanted to shut the door on her past. Every year she’d invite her students over for a party, and they’d file into the house saying, Wie geht’s? and expect me to answer in German, but I couldn’t.

How We Are Doing: Grade – F. Kids watch Muzzy in Spanish, Sleeping Beauty in French. Okay, pathetic. Their school doesn’t teach languages, and we don’t have time to go to another class. All I can do right now is panic.

3. Know how to play chess

My husband spent a lot of his childhood competing in chess tournaments, and there is a direct connection between his knowledge of the game and his ability to think strategically. More than any other area of study, chess taught him how to think on his toes.

How We Are Doing: Grade – B-. They know how to move the pieces and play, but we need to play more often. The good news is that Ella, age 7, can sometimes beat me now.

4. Know how to dance

I’m not saying I want them on Dancing With the Stars – I just want them to know how to waltz so they can get up off their chairs at weddings, and do more than a lame-assed two-step to the Bee Gees, like me.

How We Are Doing: Grade – B. They do Irish dance, which is fun but useless at weddings. We’ll enroll them in basic dance classes when they’re 11 or 12 so they can at least waltz with confidence.

5. Be money savvy

Knowing how to make, save, spend, and donate money is the most important thing to know but it’s not taught at school, and most parents would rather talk about sex or drugs than money. Most of us subconsciously learn what we know about money from our families. My parents never said no. They totally over-indulged me. They gave me their credit cards along with a sense of entitlement and financial confusion. I would over-spend because I had no idea how to value things. It took me a long time to understand money, and I still struggle with it. I don’t want my children to be a victim of their own financial ignorance.

How We Are Doing: Grade – C. I can say no, but I’m too disorganized to consistently give them an allowance. I should have a chart system and pay them for bigger chores but haven’t gotten around to it. They lost the plugs to their piggy banks so they don’t have a place to put money. I’m usually too overwhelmed at the grocery store to teach them much there either. I just started reading Raising Financially Fit Kids, and am going to investigate Susan Beacham’s Money Savvy Pig website.

6. Get involved in church and have a faith

I grew up having to hide my belief in God because I was surrounded by atheists who ridiculed people of faith. Going through life without a belief in God leaves you spiritually handicapped, because your existence lacks meaning. Without faith, people get depressed. Children need rituals, spiritual community, and the comfort of belief.

How We Are Doing: Grade – B. We are members of a wonderful, vibrant, kid-friendly church but haven’t gone for the past several weeks because of number 8 on this list.

7. Know how to read a map

If I didn’t have a nav system in my car I would probably be driving through deepest Africa right now, totally lost. I never learned how to read a map or ride public transportation, and to this day I struggle with knowing where the hell I am and how to get anywhere. I envy people who can read maps. Being able to read maps and find your way around matters.

How We Are Doing: Grade – B. When we go places, my husband helps the children read maps and challenges them to find their way on public transportation.

8. Ski with confidence

I am a bunny sloper, so I want them to be good at skiing.

How We Are Doing: Grade – A-. They attend ski camps, and we enrolled in a family ski development program that meets every other Sunday. Now Fiona can ski black diamonds, and Ella can go down the bunny slope (and so do I, still).

9. Have a healthy relationship with food and self-image

How We Are Doing: Grade – B. For the most part we eat healthy, whole foods, don’t let them drink soda, and don’t put sugary treats in their lunch boxes. They eat a lot of sushi and love meat and salads. I don’t have a healthy self-image (which I inherited from my mom) and can’t manufacture one so I worry about passing this on to my daughters.

10. Go to college

How We Are Doing: Grade – A (but they’re still in elementary school, ahem). One thing that helped me get into college was the expectation in my family that we would go to college, then grad school. It wasn’t considered optional, it was just something you did. We do everything we can to support their school, help them value education, and brainwash them into going to college. For example, the other day Ella asked me when she will have a baby and after waxing poetic about love and marriage, I included the phrase, “after you finish graduate school, love-bug.”

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Comments

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  1. What a great list. I have thought some about a “bucket list” of hopes for my children I would love for them to be money savvy. The hubby and I made some very poor choices and I hope my children do better.

    Amazing video! Just beautiful. A+ indeed! I never played an instrument; something I regret very much- I do hope Addison and Jackson find something they love doing and do great.

    I am enrolling Addison in dance this year. I hope it is something she enjoys for years to come. I was a cheerleader and won state competitions but once I hit the “Sophomore slump” I gave it and many other things up. Once again, hope my children make better choices.

    I wrote a similar list a while back mostly what I wish for my children as they grow. http://mommymmsankey.blogspot.com/2010/11/to-my-children-day-44-321-days-left.html

    Love that your daughter will be able to look back and read what you hope they achieve.

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    • I have a theory about music and kids finding things they love – I just think parents need to give ‘em a little inspiration (ok, a shove). So you could try putting a cool instrument in front of them and see if they “bite.” Same w. sports etc. You don’t need to play yourself, just give open the door for them and give ‘em a little push. (-:
      Sophomore slump sucks a lot of talent and potential out of a lot of students including me (but Freshman year too). Thanks for the post, going to read it next. (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  2. Nice Idea. You got us beat on the violin. I want our family to be able to bust out the instruments on a Saturday night and have a big ‘ol singalong, but none of know how to play well enough. Kids know next to nothing, wife knows the most — grade 8 piano and some guitar. None of us can really improve.

    We got you beat on the languages. It’s trivial if they are immersed. I speak English to the kids, wife speaks Polish, and they go to French immersion. They are perfectly trilingual. It takes a little longer for them to start talking, but it’s so much easier than trying to learn it later. I tried learning French and after 5 years I can only just survive, no business or deep conversations, only light and airy-fairy.
    Twitter: PerfectingParen

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  3. Yes, I think about this often, but slightly differently. I think in terms of Life Lessons. When my child steps out from under my roof to make her own way in the world (goodness, only 6 years from now), what should I have taught her? There are the practical skills: I want her to know how to drive a stick shift and how to change the oil in a car and how to be a good, defensive driver. (Yes, I’m a little nervous about the fact that she’ll be driving in a few years). I also want her to know how to budget and how to manage money. And how to cook some stuff. I want her to floss her teeth and go to the dentist. (Please don’t let the thousands of dollars of othodontic treatment be in vain).

    Then there are the other non-tangible skills/lessons that I hope will serve to keep her strong and healthy and safe. I want her to know how to think and how to learn and how to be a leader and how to consider the impact that her actions have on other people. I want her to know that she can and does make a difference in the world. I want her to know that life will knock her down and that she will have to stand up again. I want her to learn that she can ask for what she needs in life (loudly if necessary).

    Does that stuff count as a bucket list? I dunno. I know that as I’m thinking about this, my heart is breaking a little bit thinking that the time is short, and I hope I am doing my job well.

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    • Hey QM: I must add change her own car tire/oil to that list! You’re right! Also the idea – what should I have taught her? – what a great way to be thinking. I don’t think of that often enough – only really consciously think it when we’re playing a board game and I’m letting her cheat because I don’t want to deal w. the fallout if she loses (we are working on sportsmanship) – and that’s when I have the thought, “Oh shit, I’m teaching her how to be comfortable cheating. What should I teach her instead?” Jeez.
      I’m right there w. you w. the dreading the empty nest thing even though it’s years away…
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  4. Good idea, I love your list. I only have one so far. I want my kids to be confident. I think it will take them far…

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    • That’s a good one. If you are confident, they will probably be confident, and confidence IMHO goes a long, long way in life, in the workplace, friendships – even parenting.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  5. Great list and additions.

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    • Why thank you, Mr. PW. Thanks for stopping by.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  6. I absolutely love this. I have a general idea of what I’d like for my little people – but I would love to sit down one day and put it in writing for them individually. It may take me a while though because there are a thousand of them you see.
    Great post :-)

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    • Write it! Post it! I want to read it. (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  7. You’re too nice, Ado. No bucket list for me… it reminds me too much of my mortality :( What I do have is a similar list for my daughter, but I called it: “Do This or Else…” >.<

    Speaking of nice (I have a feeling you might hate me for this), I'm awarding you the Versatile Blogger Award!!! Whether you know or not what I'm talking about, you can read about it in my post: http://dosweatthesmallstuffblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/hurrayyy-its-my-first-ever-blog-award.html

    ps: try to this positively about this, k? LOL
    Twitter: dosweatthesmall

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    • You got an award! I got an award! Yay! Thank you sooo much! And CONGRATS! (BTW, is there a time-frame for passing out the award/writing the 7 things? Like – do I need to do it tomorrow or can I take a couple days?) Thanks again! PS: I pimped your blog, ok, and my award, on our FB site. (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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      • Hear, Hear!!!

        Nope, no time frame that I know of. Besides, I’m pretty sure you need at least one whole day to write all the amazing stuff you’ve found at this brilliant blog called Do Sweat the Small Stuff. So yeah, you can take a couple days–that’s fine.

        !!!!LOL!!!!

        ps: Actually, I’ve been waiting for somebody to actually be my pimp. (Hey, wait a minute, what did you think I was talking about?) So BIG thanks there, for launching my blog, and your award, out there on planet Facebook.
        Twitter: dosweatthesmall

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  8. What an awesome idea for a bucket list. I love your #10 the best. It was and is the same way for me. We don’t discuss going to college as an option – its just what people do. My kids never talk about “if” they go, they talk about “where they will go.” I’d say we are getting an A on that item too. That is the probably the single most important item on my yet to be conceived bucket list. :)

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  9. Oh, and QM – my parents made me learn to check, add, and change a tire and the oil in my car before I could get my license. At the time I hated it, but now, I am glad :)

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    • I’ve got to add change a tire/check the oil to that list – also, be able to use a hammer and “do it yourself.” (-: I’d love to see your bucket list if you ever write one.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  10. I’m obsessed with my kids learning a second language. Too bad I don’t speak a second language and I’m not willing to pay the fees at the immersion preschool. I absolutely understand this post!

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    • I’m glad you understand this post (thank goodness I didn’t know how to write it in French or you wouldn’t have gotten a chance to read it!) and that there is another parent out there panicking about language. (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  11. I love this. I agree with so many of them and all that, but I just like this a lot and wanted to say so.

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    • Thanks very much Sarah. (-: Appreciate it.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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