Wednesday, December 14, 2005

a note for myself


I'm Feeling: inspired to think (like that's uncommon...)
Background Noise: Get Rhythm by Joaquin Phoenix

For a long time, I've been thinking about things to keep in mind when I have kids someday. I've collected some thoughts from my own experiences, and a lot from conversations with other people. Some have grown-up kids, some have little kids, some have no kids - but they all have input (a study of human nature, I'd say...) This morning I was inspired by a really fantastic entry on my husband's blog to share some of my "Advice to My Future Self."

*No matter how old they are, no one likes being called a "kid."
*You don't deserve respect until you give it (this one goes both ways).
*Remember that you used to hide green beans in a napkin under your plate too.
*For the most part, we mimic what we see around us. We are watched more than we know by those younger than us.
*Cheer for your kids - it means the world to know people believe in you.
*Let people make mistakes and learn from them - and be there to love them the whole time.
*Being a teenager is confusing and hard - but turbulent attitudes and standoffish behavior can mask a generous heart and energetic spirit. Try to meet the person living inside.
*Don't take it personally.
*Really - people of all ages aren't that hard to figure out - spend time with them, listen to them, and show them love.
*Don't ask for anything in return. Be genuinely grateful if it happens on its own.
*I want my kids to say "my mama is my biggest fan."
*Don't underestimate anyone's heart - the lessons you learn from your 12 year old friends are powerful.
*The point of making cookies is to make a mess and then eat the dough.
*20 years later, kids still remember the dorky songs you made up on long car rides - so put on your dunce cap and make some memories!

It's so easy for us to forget what it's like to be young - as experience and wisdom (ha - I'll pretend that I have some) accumulate, we gain perspective on our actions and choices. But which lessons stick out most clearly in your mind? The one where someone told you "Don't lie" and so you didn't... or the time where you were caught lying to someone you care about? The truth is... (in my opinion, at least... is it possible to have "truth in your own opinion? a question for another time, I guess) the truth is that yes, adults have wisdom borne of experience. But since I've experienced 5, and 12 and 15 and 19 - I have no excuse to respond with anything less than patience, love, kindness and gentleness.

Remember silliness and pigging out on junk food and jumping on the bed and ALL the things you did that you thought your parents never knew about. It's not necessary to condone everything, but at least remember it.

I'm sure I'll forget someday - which is why I want to write myself a book now, and as I go along... sometimes the perspective of the young adds value to the wisdom of the not-so-young.

2 thoughts:

Julie said...

Great idea to write those things down!

It's good to keep in the front of your mind that children are immature. They are constantly growing. A lesson isn't learned over night. It just gets better and better as time goes on and then gets mastered.

Julie said...

Teaching a child to pray for help from God is a great thing. I've been trying to remind Michael that he can ask God for self control. Also that it pleases God to obey and do good things.