I have been part of an on-line journaling community and here is this week’s writing prompt:
“There’s a wonderful quote that says when we die, it doesn’t matter how many things we have in our possession; what matters most is the differences we made in the life of a child. There is so much wisdom and power in this statement. Imagine if we lived our lives with only this intention? To make a positive difference in the life of a child. All of our fears, inadequacies, and self-doubt would disappear.”
“This week, write about the most important things you would teach a child. Even if you’re already a parent or grandparent or great grandparent – start from a blank slate. What are the most important lessons you would teach him or her? Why are they important? Do these lessons move us towards peace, love and joy? Speak from your heart.”
- I see a big difference in these two paragraphs:
- “To make a difference in the life of a child”
- “start from a blank slate– What are the most important lessons you would teach (a child)”
Children are not blank slates. Even if that was not what was intended by this statement, I think it implies that we must teach children everything. I disagree with this idea. Yes, we do “teach” children. We teach them all the time in our actions. They learn from watching us. Just like they learn to crawl and to walk and talk, they learn how to act and respond based on what they observe. We need to be the change that we want to see in our children. Not in a “hey look at me, I am doing it this way and so should you” form of modeling but in our everyday words and actions.
I see this all the time just by watching my children. With three children, I see how the youngest, who is 3 years old, copies the actions of his older brother and sister as well as how the older children copy each other as well as me and my husband.
When I think about “making a difference” in the life of a child, I think of stopping and listening to a child. I think about loving a child, meeting his needs, joining her in her world, spending time with him, connecting with her, being there for him.
My mind goes to the birth of my children and all my choices prior to their birth, during and after. I recall how I began to really think about what I was putting into my body and how my diet evolved and changed over time -which has been good for my health too! My birthing choices, the classes I took and how much I learned after my first was born and the changes I made for my second child’s birth as well the changes I made for my third child”s birth. My decision to breastfeed my baby and attending La Leche League meetings and learning more and more about nursing my child and mothering. Learning about attachment parenting and child-led weaning. For me, these are very powerful ways I have made a difference for my children’s lives.
Here I am, almost 15 years after I gave birth to my first child remembering those early days. How can I continue to make a difference?
I read books, educate myself and reach out to like-minded communities to connect, share information, resources and support. It doesn’t matter how long we have been a parent, it is a continual learning process. I can improve my communication skills and modify my “parenting method” as I grow and evolve as a mother. Our children are all unique and have their own strengths, weaknesses, gifts and talents. I see my role as nurturing, supporting, empowering, and maybe at times guiding them.
But even as a homeschooling parent, I do not feel I am here to “teach them”. I believe that my children have far more to teach me than I could possibly teach them.