Wednesday, March 23, 2005

You Can Have It All

When I was growing up, the message most often imparted to me at school was that I could be anything, achieve anything, as long as I wanted it enough and worked hard. The emergence of women in the work force meant that young girls were taught that any profession was open to them. I dreamed of being an astronaut, a doctor, a scientist, a veterinarian, an archaeologist. The message was "you can have it all". Perhaps because the teachers were nuns without familial responsibility and young single men and women, just out of college and with no family yet, very little was said about how to balance these dreams and goals with a family.

The message imparted to my generation has had an impact. Many women hold degrees and careers that our parents' generation could not have imagined. It has taken a toll, however, and I think it is having an effect on the next generation. While certainly a whole blog could be written about balancing a career and family responsibilities, another impact of the message is the busy-ness of the American family. Our family is no exception and we are struggling to find balance.

A wealth of opportunities and possibilities are open to the children of this nation, all with an undercurrent of competition to be the best. In our homeschooling life, we have been struggling to find balance because so much is available in the outside world, that soon we found our lives driven by external schedules, the opposite of one of the attractions of homeschooling. I find myself driving from one activity to the next, fitting each into the timetable like a piece of a puzzle. Often, the pieces would fit neatly together, and I'd find myself spending even more time in the car.

My childhood refrain "you can have it all" kept me going "if you work hard enough". I want wonderful opportunities for my kids, and of course, they are all good experiences, but at what cost? I will explore this in my next few blog entries - bringing home the homeschooling. The message I was taught by the culture of the time missed the end of the sentence, which I hope to teach my children. "You can have it all, if you so choose - just not all at the same time."

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