How far is too far?

How far is too far?

As parents, we always try to do what’s best for our kids—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We make sure they eat the right foods, play hard outside, feel loved by their parents, pray before dinner and bedtime. Sometimes we face difficult decisions and sometimes the decisions are fairly easy. Articles on this topic are always of interest to me—some make me feel good about my parenting skills and others leave me feeling like I’m failing miserably at parenting.   

My husband and I are currently discussing preschools for our son. The first question is “Does he need to go?” Assuming the answer to that is yes, the next logical question is “Where do we send him?”

 We have narrowed our focus to three preschools that all seem to offer different reasons for selection:

#1—We like that it’s cheap and super-close to our house, but a little anxious about the house-turned-preschool.

#2—We like that it’s nearby and our neighbor’s daughter goes there, but it is the most expensive.  

#3—We like that part of the curriculum is devoted to religious education and we know one of the helpers through a family connection, but it is about 15 minutes from our house.

My husband and I understand that we are the primary teachers of our children in matters of faith, and we take that charge very seriously. However, we also think it is a nice reinforcement of our teaching to have our son hear about God at preschool. The only real cost to option #3 is a bigger hassle in terms of transportation. Not insurmountable, mind you, just more gas and more time in the car.

In an article from Every Day Catholic, Jeanne Hunt writes: “When we put emphasis on a particular way of living, we can expect our children to do the same. It is subtle and enduring. Children are sorting out what they see and hear, and deciding how they want to live. It is our role as parents to offer formation that is grounded in values that are consistent with our faith.”

Maybe that is the answer. We want to provide our child formation that is grounded in values consistent with our faith. Does it matter how far we have to drive to do that?


About the Author

Angela Glassmeyer is the institutional marketing and sales manager at Franciscan Media. She is blessed with three amazing children and a husband who both encourages and inspires her. She loves to entertain and feed large crowds of family and friends, but does not love the cleanup that comes with it. Angela has been actively involved at St. James of the Valley for almost twenty years and has served as the PSR coordinator since 2005.
  • Letshavecoffee007

    Great Artical. NOW Is The MOST Important Time In A Childs Life For Development In All Aspects Of His Or Her Life. If They Dont Learn Very Early In Life, The Chances Are With Each Passing Year That They Will Will Not Learn What They Need To To Be All That They Can Be. A Little Extra Gas Or Time In The Car Is WELL WORTH THE PAIN. :)

  • purplecow

    Don’t let the (ideal, not really able to be accomplished because you’ll always be second guessing) perfect be the enemy of the (practical, doable, perfectly fine) good.

  • Gail F

    Are you talking half day or all day? And how old is your son? IMHO, half day preschool is just a nice thing for your child to go to. If it is a nice environment with nice kids, that’s all you need. The less money you spend on it and the less time you spend getting there, the better. Its main purpose is to get your child used to other people than yourself, and to be used to being around other children. The whole “prechool must teach my child everything” idea is mistaken, especially for families who do teach their children the alphabet, numbers, colors, etc. 

    Full day is a different matter, because that is a lot of hours away from you. And regardless of what people believe, many, MANY children are not ready for all-day preschool or all-day kindergarten. Just think about it. Most young children did not spend all day away from their families throughout all of history, and yet human beings turned out fine. My children both went to half-day Montessori preschools and were quite well prepared for “real” school even though they were home by lunch time. My daughter was not ready for all-day kindergarten but my son was. And he is the one who has the most trouble with school! As far as religious instruction goes, that depends on what sort of instruction it is. “Christian” preschools teach a variety of different things, not all of them compatible with Catholicism.

    • Anonymous

      The preschools we’re looking at are for two and a half hours, three days a week. For a while we were considering if he needed to go at all, but have now decided he would benefit from going. He’s four, but will be five soon after the school year begins. We’re also considering which type of schedule is better—three days in a row (T,W,Th) or every other day (M,W,F)—as we have both of those options available. Kindergarten will be next year, and the full versus half day discussion has already begun in our household. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and adding a new perspective.