Jordan at MamaBlogga is hosting another group writing project this week and the writing prompt is "Three Things I Want My Kids to . . . " Now I'm not normally this introspective and solemn but here's my stab at the topic.
My parents left last week. They've moved to the other side of the planet for the next three years and I'm missing Mom already. Though she has lived within walking distance we've talked on the phone nearly every day and if something good or bad is happening one of the first things I do is call Mom.
So I've been thinking plenty about parenting and motherhood and what it takes to do the job well. It means so much more than just keeping the children warm and dry and fed, it's about teaching values, morality, ethics and how to pick up dirty socks and put them in the clothes hamper.
As I've thought about the task before me I've realized I've focused on three things I want my kids to learn to appreciate: three things that if I can teach them to value that their lives will better for it.
Education. All kids struggle with this I imagine but whenever my children make comments about how they dislike school, homework or their studies it bothers me. I remember having those same feelings but as I parent I recognize the precious gift of education and want my children to realize how many people have lived without access to what we often take for granted.
To be able to read and write, to be able to advance in your education as far as your stamina will allow is a blessing--not only is education the line between poverty and comfort but something that will elevate and enrich a life beyond what would be obtained by mere physical survival. I want them to realize this and be grateful for it. If not now while they're savoring their freedom from school for the summer, eventually. I want them to develop a love of learning that will extend beyond their classroom years and help them to look forward to what's around the corner.
Sacrifice. So many people have given up things so that my life can be better whether it's pioneering ancestors who left homes to look for a better life for their family, soldiers and patriots who gave (and are even now giving) their lives for their nation's freedom or parents and teachers who dedicated themselves for the benefit of others. If my children don't remember what others have done to help them they run the risk of thinking that they alone are to thank for the good things that happen to them and won't bother to look for others who might need their help.
Beauty. I want to be able to teach my children to appreciate what is beautiful and good whether it's beauty in art or goodness in others. I want them to stop when they see a spectacular sunset or a masterful painting, to pause a moment when they hear a brilliant symphony and to be able to recognize other people's good qualities and their potential.
It seems that though there is so much loveliness in the world today there is an increasing amount of ugliness. Gossip, despair, debauchery, gluttony--each are getting more and more air time and competing for my children's attention. If I can teach them to see the good and the beautiful in the world around them not only will it will keep them from focusing too much on themselves and make their lives better and happier but will keep them away from things that debase. What more could a mother want?
And I'm sure there are more things I'm supposed to be teaching them but I can't help but think that with some gratitude for these basics they'll go far.
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