We'll Never Have Yard of the Month

May 20, 2013

Not yard of the month.

Our subdivision just started a new program—“Yard of the Month.” There’s a sign posted right at the entrance with the address of the winning house. When I saw the sign, I realized immediately that we’ll never have “Yard of the Month.” Not because we have an ugly yard, or a neglected yard—what we have is a yard that doesn’t fit the image of what a subdivision’s “Yard of the Month” should look like. We’ve left a good portion of our front yard in its natural state, except for grass required by the subdivision in the portion of our yard between the sidewalk and the street. This is our choice and our preference. I’m completely fine with never winning “Yard of the Month.” There’s something very freeing about not buying into someone else’s ideal.

This got me thinking about other areas of life where I might be buying into other people’s expectations: what I do (and don’t do) with my horse, how clean (or dirty) my house is, and, most certainly, what I do (and don’t do) as a parent. This last is particularly on my mind as we get ready to send Nick out into the world. It didn’t take us long to realize our son is not a fits-the-mold kind of kid. (But he was “Student of the Month” one time—in first grade!) We’ve had to frequently reexamine our expectations and choices to see if we were doing what was best for him or just what everyone else was doing.

It’s a good practice to take inventory of all our activities from time to time, asking ourselves why we do what we do. Because we really want to, or because someone else thinks we should? It’s all too easy to buy into someone else’s idea of happiness/fun/worth, without stopping to consider what we actually think ourselves.

I’m still learning this lesson—as we probably all are. How about you? Is there anything you’ve stopped doing after evaluating why you were doing it? Anything you’ve started doing just because you want to?

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