We are huge proponents of taking the kids along on vacations. I believe it’s a great bonding opportunity for the family, very educational for the kids, and it’s also fair when parents take the kids along on their travels. Based on my own childhood experiences, when parents vacation without kids or only with one of the siblings and not the other, that makes the child left behind feel like they are missing out and being deprived. I don’t want my kids to feel that, so we always take our kids on our vacations, as well as events and activities where we feel they would get a great experience. But recently we were on vacation in Miami, and there was one time when our values were put to a test.
Here are my thoughts from my kids’ latest BJJ tournament. Most parents are obsessed about their kids getting the gold at tournaments. But I could care less about that.
My 3 older kids train BJJ and are begging me to take them to tournaments. Their friends go to tournaments regularly and win trophies and get their rank promotions, and my kids get jealous – just like this week again, after another recent tournament. But it’s very hard for us to take our kids to tournaments. You have to get up at 5am, eat breakfast and drive 2-2.5 hours to another city to get there by 8am weigh-ins, then spend a full day there and drive back home all tired. My homeschooled kids get up late, we cook our breakfasts from scratch (which takes quite some time), we would have to bring our younger child along who will be bored, and waste a full day staying there and driving back and forth.
Had an interesting conversation last night that got me thinking. Parents put kids in activities – music, art, gymnastics, sports – and hope to see their child go all the way and achieve the top level of proficiency. If the child stops enjoying it and wants to quit, the parent would try hard to encourage them to keep going. The idea is that the child should suck it up and stick to the activity because it will teach them how to achieve their goals in life.
Yesterday I discovered that my 6 year old daughter believes everything her martial arts coach says. I took her to her training session and saw how she and other little kids sat around listening to the coach intently, taking in everything he was saying. Literally everything. When we drove home and talked, I learned something revealing.
The tragic story of Alfie Evans has inspired me to think harder about the social issues that typically lead to this and similar tragedies. I felt very angry that a precious little baby was murdered by an arrogant government that had no respect for G-d, for the sanctity of life, for individual freedom and parental rights. Alfie’s story is by no means an isolated case – rather, the culture of death and violations of rights are becoming a dangerous trend in the Western world. In Alfie’s memory, I want to do something to help continue his fight and to help others defend the rights that Alfie was denied. Inspired by Alfie Evans, Kon and I have set up a yearly charity fund to donate to causes that defend individual freedoms, family rights, and the sanctity of life.
My beloved grandmother Dina has recently passed away at the age of ninety-five. She was blessed to live a long healthy life and to see her great-grandchildren. But her life was not always easy and happy.
Lately, as we have been preparing for our big move, I started thinking about the idea of home. We’ve been living in the Boston area for a long time. This is where our relatives and friends live, where everything is familiar and filled with memories. But does it mean Boston is my home? Does it mean that I am now about to leave my home and go to some strange new place? Will life be difficult in the new place, will I feel sad and lonely? Will I call the new place home?
Our extended family and relatives have no more than two children; we have three at the moment. I would have never imagined that because of our choice to have more children than average we would encounter so many sideways looks, so much disapproval, and so little sympathy not only from acquaintances and neighbors, but even more so from our closest relatives.
Now that we have ourselves become parents, we think and analyze what other parents do wrong, so that we try to avoid making the same mistakes with our children. All parents fall short from time to time, but some parental mistakes are worse than others and can cause long-term consequences.