When They Grow Up…..
I’ve been waking up really early lately. It’s like my brain won’t shut off. And you know me, it gets me thinking about a lot of shit. Thank God I’ve started blogging, so all that shit has somewhere to go.
The other day I was farting around on the internet and came across some article about what one characteristic you wish your child would grow up to have. The article itself was more about what was going on in Steubenville, and a commentary about instilling good values and moral compasses in our sons, but I’m not sure I need to blog about that. What happened there was wrong. The continued victimization of the victim is wrong. It is not okay to rape someone no matter how drunk they are.
What I was thinking more about was how I would answer the question. If I could pick a defining characteristic for my child, what would it be?
Of course, we all want our kids to be smart. Most parents, in my experience as a teacher, find some way to demonstrate to me how their child is the brightest there is. ” Little Johnny could spell his name backwards and forwards in seven languages by the time he was two.” Super, that’s really not useful. “Little Mary could count to 1 million at age 3.” Ok. Get that Harvard application ready.
There are a lot of different kinds of smart, you know. My Dad, for example, is one of those people that can figure pretty much anything out. He knows almost everything, and what he doesn’t know he’ll reason out before you can look it up.
Myself, I’m book smart. As in I remember almost everything I read. It was a lucky trait to have in university when I took a couple of hours before each exam to sober up and read through my notes. I look back and wonder how I passed.
Husband is art smart. He is creatively and conceptually aware of things that are really cool, and able to do amazing things on a canvas. He’s also people smart. I can’t tell you how many times he’s said “I’ve told you so” about someone who turns out to be an asshole.
Anyway, my point is that smart is broad. We all have something we’re good at. So I don’t think I need to wish that for the Destroyer or Little Buddy.
Brave? Honest? I personally think these are the same thing. A coward is never honest, and a liar is never brave. We lie to hide from the truth, because it’s easier. Because we are afraid to face what really is. When you are truly brave, you are honest with yourself and others, and willing to face the consequences of the situation. To lie is to avoid. So do I want my kids to be honest/brave? Yeah I do. But I also think that life forces you to face the music at some point on its own, because dishonesty will always catch up with you. The truth is inevitable.
I think the author of the article above has this one right. I want my kids to be kind.
Kind doesn’t mean doormat. It doesn’t mean let others take advantage of you. Trust me on this. You can be confident and know how to stand your ground without being cruel. You can be honest without being devastating. You can be firm in your convictions without being unfair.
Kind means having compassion and empathy for others. It means taking a little less for yourself and giving a little more to your neighbor. It means you consider the feelings of others before you act. It means bringing joy to the life of someone that is not you.
If you can learn to be kind, you won’t turn out to be an asshole.
So how do I teach my daughter and son to be kind?
It’s simple. I have to be kind, and they will see it, and watch it, and repeat it. Kids don’t give a shit what you tell them. They remember what you show them.
So, as usual, the onus is on me to be a better person. The only genie in the room who is going to grant my wish is me.
So parents, on this very early Monday morning, make a deal with yourself. Emulate the person you want your kids to be, and create goodness in this next generation.
‘Cause I was born with an asshole, I don’t need to create two more.