Two weeks ago, I gave a talk at MoMondays about how I started thinking for myself and forming my own convictions. The benefits have been numerous, including greater purpose, confidence, and peace. It seems like doing the work of thinking through things that are important often gets put aside in favor of dealing with the urgent. So, I created a worksheet and posted it on my facebook page. I am challenging myself to do the work of thinking through one of those topics twice per month. (I'd like to say once a week, but I'd have already failed). Here is the first topic I tackled: what I believe my kids really need.
I believe my kids need a combination of love and limits, of spontaneity and structure, of discipline and understanding. I believe very strongly in developing their creativity and their character. I believe that in order for them to be successful in life, they need internal motivation and strong initiative—comfortable in coming up with and following their own ideas and careful to take care of the mundane and ordinary in their lives. They need to be able to say no to desires and feelings in order to say yes to something greater or more lasting. They need to be able to respect other peoples’ “no’s” and yet not give up when they run into obstacles. They need to know the value of good habits and attitudes, recognizing how repeated thoughts/feelings/actions create them.
I believe my kids need me to be present—in body--as much as possible, and all of me there when I am. I believe my kids need one-on-one time with their parents. I believe my kids need dad love and mom love. They need hugs, kisses, encouragement, recognition, correction, challenge, wrestles, tickles, attention, a listening ear, a lot of “yes—let’s do it”, tangible reminders we’re thinking of them (notes, gifts, remembering events and discussions), our support of them in their activities, interaction, teaching, stories, fun, good memories, traditions, celebrations, values, discipline, hope, cuddles, wisdom, perspective, advocacy, patience, and modelling of all we expect of them.
I believe my kids need to know their grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, and extended family. They need to hear stories passed down. They need to feel connected to their roots and part of a bigger entity. They need to know they are special and treasured. They need the prayers of their grandparents, their wisdom, and their unconditional love. They need to have a healthy respect for their elders.
They need to learn how to work towards a goal, how to save money, and the value of money beyond spending it. They need to see generosity demonstrated. They need to learn gratitude and know how much they have and be content with it. They need to discover the joy of serving others, to look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others.