Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Outdoing Each Other In Love

Lucas and his sisters
October 2011
photo by Tanda Maguire

I heard an interesting discussion on the radio the other day.  The radio hosts were discussing the practice of "red-shirting" kids in kindergarten.  The practice has been around for awhile, but it has gained popularity in recent years.  What this means is to purposely wait to start your child in kindergarten until he or she is six, not five.  The idea behind it is to give your child an advantage over other students in both academic and athletic abilities.  The whole practice of red-shirting is based purely on this advantage, not holding a child back based on social immaturity or learning disability.  This is what makes the practice controversial.  One of the radio hosts read a quote from a mother who had recently appeared on a television program to discuss why she red-shirted her son.  While I don't remember the exact quote, she basically said she wanted her son to be the "tallest and smartest kid in the class."  Other parents that appeared on the program stated that they wanted their child to be an "alpha male."  And still others wanted their child to excel at sports, so even if their child was ready for kindergarten at age five, they would hold them back to give them a physical advantage.

This whole thing made me stop and think.  Lucas has a late July birthday which means he will either be a young five year old starting kindergarten or a six year old if we decide to wait.  For us, that decision will be made as we see how he grows and matures.  Some kids are ready at five while others do need to wait.  But holding him back in hopes that he will be bigger and better than everyone else is just silly to me.  Rather than pushing him into being the tallest or smartest or best at soccer, why not encourage him (and my girls too) to be the kindest, friendliest or most compassionate or helpful?  Not every kid is going to be the best at something.  It's okay not to be the smartest as long as you are doing your best.  What is most important is the quality of your character.

That is what I hope for my own kiddos.  There is a verse in Romans chapter twelve that says to "outdo one another in showing honor" (verse 10, ESV).  What would our world look like if we literally tried to outdo each other in how we display love and honored and respected each other?

Just something to think about......


Kristin said...

I know it happens here for the sports reason, but I am with you. Quality of character is more important.

Ashley said...

I've been totally in the dark on this. I DID keep Grant back for educational reasons. I talked at length with the director of the school and they felt it was in his best interest to stay in Kindergarten. I later learned that the birthday rule kept us back a year anyway. What an interesting time we live in...red shirting Kindergartners. Good grief. I love my little red shirted boy! Who knew I was a part of this nonsense. Thanks for the post. I had no idea!

Maria Rose said...

What a weird concept. Growing up I always assumed that the older kids had held back and had something "wrong" with them. I can't see this being helpful.

Plus, you are so right kids need to struggle a bit to learn and find their way. What a disservice to our children to set them up to think they're the best and then slap them with reality later.