*Insert Leann Rimes jam session*

Okay, back on track.  What were talking about? Oh yeah.  Commitment.

News flash, y’all – we live in a busy world!

Busy is my favorite way to be (except the exact opposite, when I enjoy my coffee in silence as I binge watch Netflix.)

As far back as I can remember, I’ve ran a busy schedule.

My mama will quickly tell you, “I used to wake up every morning and ask myself, ‘Where does Callie have to be today?'”

Cheerleading practice this day, dance classes that day, softball game here, church service there, sorority fundraiser this weekend, school function that weekend…

Rarely have I ever been one to just pick one thing to do.

My mama also will tell you this – she had a theory.  The more activities I was committed to, the less trouble I would get in.

Commitment.

That’s kind of a funny word.
You don’t hear it much these days.
It feels weird rolling off the tongue and it doesn’t always taste good.

But you see, I was extremely lucky growing up.

I have a daddy who was committed to a business that demanded every second of every day.

I have a mama, who saddled up and joined him in his endeavor as a restaurant owner.

And you know what?

When the time came, they did what they needed to do, made the adjustments they needed to make, and called in the help they needed to get me where I needed to go.

That’s right.  Read that again.

They always made sure I got where I was supposed to be AND that I was prepared AND that I was on time…

… even when I didn’t want to go.

Even though they had responsibilities of their own.

And my friends’ parents were the same way.

They all had that “team work makes the dream work” mentality.

There were some days when one of our parents would have a car full of 4 or 5 children pulling up at cheerleading practice.  And then a different parent would show up and take us all home.

Those precious parents of ours INSTILLED a sense of responsibility in us because they never gave excuses.

So, when the time came and we were grown, or at least at the age we could drive ourselves, those values didn’t waver.

Fast forward ten years and I find myself well into my career as an elementary teacher and a dance teacher, and I get to observe today’s children and their behaviors in different settings.

While today’s society has changed greatly – everything from schooling to parenting to discipline and everything in between – do you know one thing I notice the most?

Lack of commitment.

There’s that word again.

In the classroom, we see a lack of commitment (and involvement) from parents when it comes to homework, studying, PTO, and activities in general.

At dance, kids drop out left and right.  Attendance is often a problem.  Why?  It’s consistently a lack of commitment.  (And just a little Callie-ism for you – a lack of responsibility on the parent and child.)

And it’s not just our dance studio.  Or dance in general.  It’s in sports and organizations across the board.

Parents, I am fixing to step on your toes.

First and foremost, YOU are the adult.

You are the adult that decided to fork over GOOD money to send your child to dance.  Or play football.  Or whatever your kid’s niche is.

And *POOF* three weeks into the season, your child is tired or doesn’t feel like going or would rather watch Netflix than to get his or her little self dressed and go to practice.

NO MA’AM.

I don’t care if there’s tears.
I don’t care if fits are pitched.

It’s time to saddle up.

Vicki (my mama for all of you newbies around here) would have given me a response that sounded something like this:  “No baby girl, I spent good money for you to learn how to dance.  You’ve got 5 seconds to get your tail in that room and get dressed or I’m gonna give you a reason to cry.”

I don’t mean to be harsh, really.  But sometimes, the truth hurts.

“But you’re not a parent.”

No, I’m not.  But I’ve had some excellent examples in my life that have shown me what effective parenting looks like.  (I also spend 7+ hours a day with other people’s children.  Come at me, bro.)

I’ve already told you that my parents and my friends’ parents instilled what it means to be responsible, committed, and hard working in us.

If you don’t remember anything else I’ve ever written, I want you to remember this – it takes a village to raise your child.

Starting with you… The precious mamas and daddies, the grandparents, the family members… As a teacher, I appreciate you!  I know your job is hard and when you do what is best for your babies, it makes my heart smile.

But along the way, your village will grow tremendously.  You will welcome many people outside of your household into your village and they will impact your child just as much as you will, though in different ways.

These people will include teachers, coaches, instructors, youth pastors, mentors, friends, and many others along the way.

These people will love your child like their own. They will teach them skills that maybe you can’t. And they will happily pile your child along with theirs in the back of their SUV and get them where they need to go when you can’t.

But parents, you build those villages by teaching your child how to be committed to something.  How to be responsible, how to be humble and ask for help, how to work hard, and you guessed it – how to simply show up.

If I have burned your biscuits already and you’re sitting their in your keyboard warrior pose, waiting to strike… I’m going to ask you to wait right there.

Press the pause button on your anger, your offensiveness, or maybe even your shame.

I want you to picture your child 5 years down the road, 10 years down the road, maybe even 15.
Picture them in high school, college, and adulthood.

Parents, I hope you’re picturing prima-ballerinas, star quarterbacks, class presidents, valedictorians, cancer-curing doctors, life-saving soldiers, fearless community leaders, math-minded engineers, and the like.

These necessary, world-changing jobs that require discipline, responsibility, respect for superiors, hard work, and you know it’s coming… commitment.

Now, I want to dig deep.  Are you teaching your child these things?  Do your hopes and dreams for your children match what you’re instilling in them?

Let me give you some real life perspective.

There will come a time where your child doesn’t have a mama that loves them unconditionally around to let them stay at home instead of going to dance class, or skip football practice, or play hookie from school.

Their college professors, their future bosses, even their high school coaches… are not going to let those behaviors slide.

At least twice a week, when my alarm goes off to start my day, I think to myself… “I could call a sub.  I could just stay home today.”

But I don’t.  Why?  Because sometimes, you just have to do it anyway.

When you. just. can’t. stand your toddler’s tears and you don’t want to be the bad guy – do it anyway.
When you. just. can’t. argue with your child anymore about putting on her clothes to go to school – do it anyway.
When you. just. can’t. deal with your teenager rolling their eyes anymore – do it anyway.

Do your child and yourself a favor, and do it anyway.

Push through these hard times.

In the end, your child and society will thank you.

I know parenting is hard.  I know children can be headstrong.  But you got this, mama!

Win that argument.
Get that baby to dance class (even if it’s kicking and screaming.)

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