Day 184 Question 184:
If you had children what things do YOU think would be important/vital to teach them? (Obviously the question is phrased like this because I, myself do not have children but it can be altered for everyone else’s situation)
Last night I had one of those long, heartfelt conversations with a friend. One of those conversations where an insane array of topics are covered and we both had the opportunity to learn more about each other. One of those conversations that strengthened our friendship. The topic of children came up and both of us are single women (she is 28 and I am 33 and neither of us have been married) with no children. She went to school for Early Childhood Development and I have worked for the last 6 years in the field of Early Childhood Development and Positie Youth Development (Human Services). Although neither of us are parents, our love for children is instinctual. We were both born with very maternal instincts. Although I am VERY unsure if I want children, my reasoning will NEVER be because I do not care for children. I am drawn to children naturally (hell I have been a nanny for 2 different families over the past 3 years). In being surrounded by SO many children over the last few years of my life I have learned so much about what I would want to teach my children from the moment they are born until my last dying breath.
I truly believe parenting is the hardest job in the entire world but also the most rewarding (at least I hope for most it is). I believe it has to be nerve-racking to raise a child and to try to do all of the right things all of the time to set a good example. As all of my readers know, I am highly opinionated but I also try to stay as open-minded as possible. Just last night my friend opened up my eyes and my mind to different view-points and her ways of explaining things (although I may not have originally agreed with certain things) gave me a better understanding of why she thought and felt the way she did about certain issues. She explained herself in a manner that made sense and never came off in a manner in which believed her way was the only way of thinking. That is EXACTLY the example I want to set to my children (if I ever chose to have them). I want to state my opinions to them and express what is important to them but allow them to think for themselves. I want to teach my children HOW to think not WHAT to think. I would hope there would be certain things that they would believe the same way I believe. For example I would teach them:
1) The importance of compassion and empathy. I would want to continually teach my children about the gigantic world outside of just themselves. I would want to teach them through books and documentaries and through travel. I would want to show them how other children the same age are suffering so they are able to appreciate a little bit more of what they have. I hope that by teaching and exposing my children to these things that they will want to help whenever and however they can.
2) The media is not the definition of real life. I would teach my children that REAL beauty is something that comes from within no matter how many times they hear otherwise. I would tell my children every single day how beautiful that they are and tell them why they are beautiful until it felt impossible to say it anymore. I would hope that they would do the same for others throughout their lives.
3) RESPECT. I would teach my children to not follow the crowd. I would teach them all of the benefits and beauty of being a unique individual. I would tell them stories of how I was disrespected as both a child and adult in hopes that they would never take part in any of those types of behaviors. I would teach them how words truly can hurt and have a long-term effect on someone. I would be honest and also tell them of incidences of how I had been disrespectful and how it made me feel to act in such a way. I would NEVER claim innocence. I would ALWAYS admit faults to my children because making mistakes are part of the natural course in life….it is how we choose to handle those mistakes that shows people our character.
4) Ask Lots of Questions! If you don’t understand something, ask? If you want to know more about something, ask? A child/person has every right to ask questions if they want to expand their knowledge in some way or another. Ask why! Ask Why not!
5) Express Yourself! I would encourage my child to find a creative outlet that makes them happy. I would never force this EVER!!! I do not believe children should be forced into anything because that ruins the natural cycle of life. If I found that my child had a creative ability or wanted to try something creative I would encourage it through and through. I believe creative expression allows a person to find themselves as well as de-stress when needed. Children and adults alike need this and I would provide any creative outlets necessary for my child to express him/herself.
I could make list after list of the things I would hope to share and teach to my child. I would want to be an honest parent and tell them about my mistakes in life but focus on the comebacks I have made as well. I would want my children to know how loved that they are and how I will always strive to be as good of a mother to them as my mother was to me. I do not believe crossing a line and being a child’s friend (in their younger years-it is different in adult years) but I do believe in being open and willing enough to hear what a child has to say without judgment. It is VITAL for children to feel comfortable and have people in their lives that they can talk to about anything…because let’s face it…growing up is a roller coaster full of emotions and confusion. Whether I have children or not in this life, I hope I am able to instill some of my wisdoms onto children and young people throughout my life (I believe I have already). I hope that the children that make up my life feel comfortable and confident around me and express themselves openly…because I will give them the same in return. :0) I want to share positive affirmations and spend time reading with them…I hope that they have the same love for books and information that I do. I want to listen to them just to hear what they have to say…so I can grow as well. :0)